Achilles tendonitis implies short term irritation and inflammation to the Achilles tendon. The Achilles heel is technically called the calcaneal tendon. Achilles tendonitis means a lot of different things to a lot of different people so the preferred term is Achilles tendinopathy. Achilles tendinopathy simply means there is a problem with the Achilles tendon.
Achilles tendonitis is commonly caused by overuse and doing too much exercise too quickly. Other factors that can cause this injury is unsuitable footwear, soft training surfaces, running uphill, tight muscles and poor foot biomechanics. Like all tendon injuries, in the vast majority of Achilles tendinitis, the underlying cause is change. Tendons hate change, change comes in most instances from changes in training load, changes in the type of training load, rapid weight gain, or changes of a similar nature.
Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis involve pain and stiffness at the back of the ankle. This pain is often gradual and worse in the morning. This pain typically ‘wears off’ as you take a few steps or continue to get on with your day. When athletes start to develop Achilles tendonitis (tendinopathy), the symptoms may not be so cut and dry and only certain high load activities such as jumping and running may produce symptoms that resolve quickly after activity.
Tendon problems are diagnosed clinically. A clinical diagnosis means that a chiropractor or physiotherapist will look at your tendon, conduct assessments and tests and tell you if your tendon is the problem. While imaging such as MRI, ultrasound, and CT Scan are important, they are less important when it comes to Achilles tendon problems.
The most important treatment for both Achilles tendonitis and Achilles tendinopathy is a progressive loading program. This will be combined with other sports chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments to maximise results.