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Achilles Tendinopathy

Updated: May 25, 2020

What is it?

Achilles tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon which connects your calf muscles (the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles) to your heel bone. The injury may occur at the point where the tendon inserts into the bone (insertional tendinopathy) or at other points on the tendon (midportion tendinopathy).


- Pain, swelling and stiffness at the back of your heel.

- Morning stiffness is also common.

- Sometimes a build-up of scar tissue can be felt, particularly if the pain has been around for a long period of time.

Why does it occur?

Every step you take, your calf muscles contract and cause tension. If this tension becomes excessive, irritation can be felt, resulting in Achilles tendinopathy and subsequent degeneration, particularly if the issue is not addressed quickly.

Risk factors

- Unsupportive footwear – requiring the tendon to work harder to do its job

- Tight calves and hamstrings – overstretching the tendon

- Pronation (or rolling in) of the foot – increasing stress upon the achilles tendon

- Increases in activity level or training with inadequate recovery time – increasing the intensity/duration, hill running – places stress upon the tendon that it is not used to

- Other biomechanical factors, such as limb length discrepancy

- Age, gender and genetics


Diagnosis is primarily made through the clinical findings and tests conducted in a consult with your physiotherapist or podiatrist. If required, an ultrasound may also be used to make the diagnosis.


- Addressing abnormal biomechanical factors by your practitioner, which often includes orthotic therapy

- Strengthening exercises to load your Achilles tendon safely

- Footwear advice

- Heel raises, to temporarily reduce the workload of your achilles tendon while it is being rehabilitated

- MLS Laser Therapy, which we provide at Saltfleet Clinic

If you are experiencing pain in your Achilles tendon, visit our Physiotherapist or Podiatrist at Saltfleet Clinic. As we are a Multi-D practice, we can work together to achieve the best result for you.



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