My Achilles tendon hurts after I run?
What have I done?
There can be a lot of problems that can cause pain in the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel. The most common is termed Achilles tendinopathy.
Tendinopathy is an umbrella term used to classify tendon problems. Initially termed tendinitis it has been shown recently that the tendon doesn’t get inflamed but the collagen structure of the tendon is disrupted. Achilles tendinopathy is an overuse injury of either the middle or insertional (bottom part) portion of the Achilles tendon. This type of injury usually occurs when a load applied to the Achilles tendon, over a period of time, exceeds the ability of the tendon to withstand that load.
There are factors which can predispose a person to Achilles tendinopathy, including:
- Abnormal foot mechanics (excessive pronation or supination)
- Muscle power/strength
- Reduced dorsiflexion
- Reduced Activity levels
- Changes in loading (returning after a break or change in training technique)
- Training Errors – change in duration/frequency of training, increased weekly distance, etc
- Recent lower limb injury
There is a wide variety of ways Achilles tendinopathy can present. The onset of pain may be sudden, gradual or insidious with the severity ranging from minor to profound pain limiting activity. Typically you will feel stiffness in the Achilles at the start of the activity, which may “warm up” as you continue the activity. There may also be a palpable nodule in the middle of Achilles which can be tender to touch. It is common to have stiffness in the region when you wake up in the morning for the first few steps.
How can All Care help?
It is important to distinguish between mid-portion and insertional Achilles tendinopathy as each condition and each person requires a different treatment regime.
Your All Care physiotherapist will assess, diagnose and determine the cause while choosing the correct treatment pathway.
It is important to assess all the factors that have led to you having the problem in the first place. Overcoming these as well as applying the correct management techniques will get you back to the activity you love.
Your All Care physiotherapist will commonly use in treatment:
- Gait scan – foot assessment on force platform to assess how your lower leg biomechanics
- Running/biomechanical screen to assess any technique flaws
- Dry needling of tight calf muscles
- Load monitoring to ensure that your Achilles tendon recovers as quickly as possible
- Strengthening exercises around the hip, knee and ankle to improve the lower limb control with running
- Check out your running shoes to see if they are suitable for your foot type and biomechanical screening
Common exercises given include;
Gluteus maximus strengthening
Gluteus medius strengthening
Eccentric heel drop programme
The Alfredson eccentric heel drop programme is commonly used to help the Achilles tendon recover.
So if you have an Achilles problem, call 1300 291 133 and let our Physiotherapists get you back on track with the sport that you love!