What is Achilles tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis is pain and swelling in the thick tendon that connects your calf muscle to your heel. It is the largest tendon in the body and allows you to run, walk, jump and go up and down stairs.
Problems with the Achilles Tendon usually happen gradually over a period of time. They particularly affect people who play sport, especially runners and jumpers.
How do we treat tendinitis at the Mansfield Clinic?
First of all the diagnosis has to be made. This is usually straightforward with Achilles tendinitis, but sometimes an MRI scan is required to rule out the possibility of tears within the Achilles tendon.
Treatment of established cases of Achilles tendinitis will usually involve manual therapy such as osteopathy and carefully constructed exercise regimes. In cases that do not respond to these measures, a new technique called Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy can be used.
In cases that do not respond to simple treatments, surgery may need to be considered. Dr Allfree will be able to arrange the appropriate referral.
The main symptom of Achilles tendinitis is pain at the back of the ankle. The pain is usually worse first thing in the morning, or after a period of inactivity.
At first the pain is felt at the beginning of a period of exercise, and then goes away. Over time, as the injury gets worse, the pain becomes more constant during exercise, and it can get to the point where exercise is no longer possible. There may also be some swelling and tenderness of the Achilles tendon.
Dr Allfree will ask you about your symptoms and examine your ankle. You will be asked to do a series of movements or exercises to see how well you can move your foot.
You may need to have an MRI scan to determine whether there are any tears in the Achilles tendon. The Mansfield Clinic will be able to arrange this for you.
There are a number of things you can do to help Achilles tendinitis:
Dr Allfree will probably recommend treating your Achilles tendon with a combination of osteopathic massage techniques and exercises to strengthen and stretch your Achilles tendon. He will give you a specifically designed programme of exercises that you will need to do every day.
If your Achilles tendinitis doesn’t get better with these simple treatments, Dr Allfree may recommend a course of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy. This involves the use of a machine that passes high energy shockwaves through the tendon.
If you are still having problems after six months, Dr Allfree may recommend that you seek the advice of an orthopaedic surgeon. Surgery involves removing damaged areas of the tendon, and repairing them. Dr Allfree will be able to help you with the referral process.