“I have been training to complete the 10km run at the Melbourne marathon and have started to experience Achilles pain during my runs. It has been going on for 8 weeks now and isn’t settling. I experience it at the start of my run but goes away about 1km in but is worse about an hour after I stop. It is also quite sore first thing in the morning when I get out of bed. Nothing I do seems to help to reduce the pain when I go back to running. What can I do to manage this pain?”
Achilles tendinopathy, an injury of the Achilles tendon, typically results from a high amount of force and load going through the tendon. This may occur in a single episode, or more often, over a prolonged period of time. Most often, this condition arises in the active population during an increased period of competition or training. However, commencement of a new exercise program in the less active individual can also result in Achilles tendinopathy. This sudden increase in running activities can cause your Achilles tendon to become reactive and painful.
Signs and symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy include:
- Tenderness or pain in the back of the heel
- Episodes of more severe pain may occur after prolonged running, stair climbing or sprinting
- Difficulty walking
- Swelling, redness and warmth over the Achilles tendon
- Morning tenderness and stiffness, which usually improves after mild activity
Achilles Tendinopathy can be effectively managed with physiotherapy. This will typically include a period of relative rest to manage the symptoms followed by a graded exercise program to improve the tendon's capacity to take load. Additionally, biomechanical factors such as ankle range of motion and foot posture may need to be addressed to aid in recovery. Typically, Achilles pain requires on average 12 weeks to eliminate pain and return to pain free activities.
Your physiotherapist will assess the driving factors to your pain and will provide you with a program which best suits you. This may include exercises, shoes, heel raises, taping or alternative low impact activities to ensure that you are still staying fit and active.
APA Physiotherapist, Evado Studios Newport