Achilles Tendon Pain

Midportion Achilles tendinopathy is a chronic, painful condition sometimes referred to as Achilles Tendinosis, Achilles tendinitis or Achilles heel pain. For the sake of simplicity and for the purpose of this article I will refer to Midportion Achilles tendinopathy as Achilles heel pain.

Considered to be one of the most common overuse injuries in participants of recreational and competitive sport, it is by no means restricted to athletes. It classically presents as fusiform (spindle like) swelling over the midportion of the Achilles tendon about 3cm above where it attaches to your heel. It is usually stiff and sore when you get up to walk but the associated pain is often improved with activity or the application of heat, but tends to return again with rest. The symptoms of Achilles heel pain can vary greatly between patients. Onset may be sudden, gradual or insidious. Pain and touch tenderness may be minor but can also be severe and debilitating. Swelling and nodulous lumps may or may not be present and will vary in size from one patient to the next. Symptoms can last just days or many years. The use of imaging to diagnose Achilles heel pain is not usually of much use due to variations in findings from one patient to the next.

There are a few simple things you can do to help with Achilles heel pain:

  • Stop any activity that aggravates your symptoms.
  • As with many conditions affecting the lower limb wearing good supportive footwear is essential.
  • Do not wear high heels as this may lead to shortening of the calf muscles and contribute to problems with the Achilles.
  • Footwear such as running shoes are a good option because they have a small heel of a couple of centimetres which may decrease the stress on the Achilles tendon.
  • Alfredson’s heel drop may be a  suitable exercise.

We have been supporting people with midpoint Achilles tendon pain for many years at Kenmore Centre for Health. We have developed a short course of saline injections along with a combination of exercise therapy, massage and acupuncture.  Specific points around the Achilles tendon are injected with saline using very fine needles.

About Ian Murray

Ian is a registered acupuncturist and Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioner at Kenmore Centre for Health. This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.
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