Tendons do an awesome job. By connecting our muscles to our bones throughout our body, they allow us to carry out an amazing array of movements. Are you moving your thumb to scroll down the screen as you read? Tendons are helping. Is your cup of coffee calling your name? Tendons will help you pick it up and take a slurp.
These important body parts are made up of firm, tough connective tissue. They are generally durable and strong but because they are used so much every single day, there is a risk that tendons will suffer from overuse. This may lead to injuries, inflammation, and pain.
The biggest tendon in the body is the Achilles tendon. This tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone, making it a crucial element in actions such as walking, running, squatting, and jumping. It copes with high energy, large tensile forces by absorbing and transferring them in a stretch shortening cycle within the area.
If the Achilles tendon is affected by overuse or is subjected to tensile forces too great and sudden, tendonitis and tendinopathy can develop. At the Glen Eira Physiotherapy & Physiolates Centre, we can help to improve your discomfort and prevent issues occurring.
Symptoms Of Achilles Tendonitis
Tendon injuries most commonly occur near the joints and discomfort is typically localised to the tendon and nearby area. It might feel like your Achilles tendon injury has suddenly happened. However, these injuries generally develop gradually due to tiny tears. That said, tendon problems can also result from an acute injury where the tendon tears significantly or ruptures.
Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis or tendinopathy can include:
- An aching or burning pain, which is often worse when getting up in the morning or after other prolonged periods of inactivity.
- Pain that increases at the start of exercise and activity when the load placed on the Achilles tendon is increased.
- Sensitivity and tenderness.
- Swelling and inflammation.
- Weakness in the area.
- Redness in the area.
- Warm to touch.
Risk Factors For Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis or tendinopathy most often occurs when there is excessive force on the tendon, gradually or suddenly. Subsequently, people who carry out activities that involve repetitive use of tendon or abrupt, high-energy force are at more of a risk of developing issues, though it can occur in people due to the progressive wear and tear associated with ageing.
Causes and risk factors can include:
- Repetitive motions and activities, such as jogging and skipping.
- Activities that involve explosive movements using the lower limbs.
- Middle and old age.
- Increasing activity levels, intensity, or duration suddenly rather than a gradual increase.
- Inadequate variation of exercise and activity choices.
- Moving from different surfaces during exercise, such as from grass to concrete.
- Inadequate footwear.
- Insufficient warming up and cooling down before and after exercise.
- Inflexibility and weakness in the ankles and legs.
- Being overweight.
- Health conditions such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
- Family history.
- Certain medications.
How Can Tendon Injuries And Tendinopathy Be Treated With Physio?
Allowing your Achilles tendon to rest initially is important to decrease the risk of further tearing and to give it time to recover before increasing the stress you put on it. Wearing a brace or a bandage can be effective in reducing movement. Placing ice on the area may also help.
After roughly three to six weeks, we can begin to introduce physical therapy to gradually increase strain and movement in the area. Our experienced and qualified team can employ a range of techniques and methods that can be beneficial.
One of our clinicians will first provide a thorough assessment and gain an understanding of what may have led up to the problem and contributing factors. They will develop a personalised care plan and start treatment during the initial consultation.
Treatment for Achilles tendinopathy or tendonitis can include:
- Flexibility and strengthening exercises.
- Manual therapy.
- Ultrasound therapy.
- Education and guidance relevant to movements you might need to minimise, change, or avoid to promote recovery and prevent further irritation and tears.
- Advice regarding adequate footwear and lifestyle habits.
Gain Relief From Achilles Tendon Issues With Physio
Recovery from an Achilles tendon problem can be complex and long. Our team is here to support and guide you while finding relief from pain and improving your mobility and functionality. Get in touch today to make an appointment with one of our friendly and skilled team members.