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Achilles tendon pain

Also referred to as:
Tendonitis • Tendinitis • Tendinopathy • Tendinosis • Achilles heel

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What is Achilles tendon pain?

The Achilles tendon is the thick tendon that runs from the calf muscles in the back of your leg into your heel. Lots of things can cause pain in the tendon such as tendonitis, (which is inflammation of the tendon), degeneration, thickening and dysfunction of the tendon (tendonosis or tendinopathy) and even a rupture of the tendon. These problems can cause pain anywhere in the length of the tendon and can be associated with calf pain too.

Problems can also occur where the tendon attaches to the heel bone (calcaneus) which is called an enthesiopathy. This causes pain lower down at the back of the heel and can be associated with bursitis and Haglund’s deformities (pump bump) too.

How can I help myself?

If you are getting pain in your Achilles tendon, rest and avoiding pressure/aggravation of the area may help in the short term, as can ice and anti inflammatory medication if you are able to take them (speak with a GP or Pharmacist).

These links provide information which may be useful:

POLICE therapy for sudden and recent injury in the last few days.

Footwear

Ice Therapy

Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medication

If you think you may have had an Achilles rupture (an injury where the tendon snaps in 2), you should seek emergency medical advice. This would usually have been a sudden injury which may have felt like someone kicked you in the back of the lower leg and it may have even made a snapping sound.

Usually there would be a lot of swelling shortly after the injury and you would possibly be unable to point the foot down, or weight bear, but this may not always be the case. Incredibly, we have known people to have sustained a rupture and report that after the initial snap, it wasn’t that painful, so be aware of this.

When to see a Podiatrist?

Due to the complex nature of Achilles conditions, it is advisable to get an assessment from an appropriate medical professional.

A Podiatrist will take a history of the problem and then check your foot shape and mechanics and try and ascertain what is causing the pain.

They may offer exercises, footwear advice, insoles/orthoses, padding and strapping techniques as well as the above self help ideas. They may also suggest imaging of the area and may discuss other management options such as injections, shockwave therapy or even surgery in severe cases.

If you book an appointment, it is wise to take your commonly used footwear so the Podiatrist has a good idea of what you are wearing.

If you book an appointment, it is wise to take your commonly used footwear so the Podiatrist has a good idea of what you are wearing.

Achilles tendon pain
Achilles tendon pain