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Achilles tendinopathy is a condition that affects the Achilles tendon. The pain from the condition is usually located at the back of the heel or further up the tendon. Symptoms are more often than not present for several weeks and frequently occur after exercise or first thing in the morning. Achilles tendinopathy can be diagnosed after a long history of symptoms; ultrasound scans will assist in confirmation.  

Your tendons are responsible for the storage of return of elastic energy whilst you are on the move. They also transfer force from muscle to bone. You may begin experiencing problems when your tendons are overworked. This can be either short or long term adaptation. The most common risk factor that can assist in developing this condition is a change to your overall workout intensity as well as terrain, age, change in footwear, gaining weight and the range of movement in the ankle joint. 

How can Achilles tendinopathy be treated?

Items such as ice and anti-inflammatory medication can help with intense cases, however, this should only be used for a short period of time so as not to interfere with the recovery process. In addition, it may be wise to reduce or adapt your exercise routine as you do not want to worsen your condition by overdoing it. 

Research has shown that loss of strength can lead to a recurrence of issues; this is why exercise rehabilitation is critical. The program that you partake in should be tailored for your particular needs as factors such as age and activity levels will affect your level of strength. 

Podiatrists are likely to be your first port of call when you begin to experience pain or suspect Achilles tendinopathy. Podiatrists are experts in all manner of lower limb conditions, therefore providing the best care for you. They will start by taking your full history and examination. You may also have to partake in a gait analysis to discover whether or not mechanical factors have any influence. Unfortunately, whichever road you decide to take it can take weeks and possibly months to reach full recovery, however, seeking help early on can eliminate longer-term problems.

Last Updated: August 2021

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