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By Aaron Gandecha, Physiotherapist

How physio can ease your Achilles pain

Even for us mere mortals, the Achilles tendon can cause plenty of problems.

For instance when you find yourself hobbling out of the bedroom every morning. Or when your calves tighten up and the back of your heels ache from simply walking or running through our beautiful city of Cairns.

AchillesThe mythological hero of the Trojan War famous for his valour and beauty – his only weak spot and vulnerability was his heel.

The most common overuse problem with the Achilles is known as a tendinopathy.  This is an injury to the tendon connecting your calf muscles to your heel bone. It occurs due to degeneration and disrepair of the tendon, and may be caused by

  • Poor footwear
  • Joint stiffness
  • Overuse
  • Recent increases in exercise levels
  • Trauma
  • Muscle weakness of the ankle knee or hip
  • Muscle tightness

Typical symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy

severe pain back of the heel in the morning which gets better with continued movement or stretching
stiffness and loss of range of movement of the ankle
tenderness to touch at the back of the heel
mild amount of swelling
decreased strength in the ankle
pain when walking, jumping, landing or squatting

Treatment for your Achilles pain

Physiotherapy treatment for Achilles tendinopathy will help reduce your pain, increase range of movement and strength and get you back to your normal daily and/or sporting activities as soon as possible! Treatment may consist of

  • Advice regarding footwear or foot orthotics
  • Strengthening, stretching and/or eccentric exercises
  • Joint mobilisation of the ankle or hip
  • Soft tissue techniques
  • Ultrasound or Shockwave therapy
  • Dry needling
  • Education regarding symptoms and self management
  • Taping
  • Home exercise prescription