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Treating Achilles Pain The Physiotherapy Way

Treating Achilles Pain The Physiotherapy Way
Treating Achilles Pain The Physiotherapy Way

Achilles Pain A Common Reason To See A Physiotherapist

Achilles pain is one of the more common reasons people seek out Sydney Physio Clinic for treatment. The good news is that most minor to moderate Achilles tendon complaints get better given time and respond well to physiotherapy. The bad news is that unfortunately Achilles pain often recurs when people return to exercise too quickly and don’t follow thorough with their rehabilitation program.

Management Of Achilles Pain

Your physiotherapist may use anything from suggesting RICE, anti-inflammatory medication, the use of heel lifts or kinesio taping to off load the stretching of the tendon to a more active approach to you rehabilitation depending on the presence of inflammation, degeneration or tears to the tendon.
Active rehabilitation is typically preferred for Achilles tendinosis using specific loading exercises to help stimulation of tendon repair. Shockwave therapy and dry needling are also to common approaches a Sydney physio may use when treating tendinosis. At Sydney Physio Clinic we have found shockwave treatment to be very effective in treating mid portion Achilles tendinosis.
The use of orthotics (shoe inserts) and strengthening and neuromuscluar retraining to help normalise foot and lower limb biomechanics can also help in both settling and preventing a relapse of Achilles pain.

Prognosis Of Achilles Pain

There is no specific time frame for recovery. Rehabilitation and return to play will be progressed as function improves. With any progression to activity carefully monitored for re-aggravation of symptoms or a drop in function. This is important as any attempt to progress too soon to can lead to re-injury and significant frustration. Ultimately it may take months to feel better however you can still be active during this time whilst the injury heals. Your physiotherapist will help guide you on what is safe for you to do to maintain fitness during your rehabilitation period. If you push yourself to return to activity too soon prior to the injury being fully healed, you may re-injure the area and the problem may become a long lasting issue.

Return To Play Following Achilles Tendon Pain

Achilles pain can require weeks to months away from sport for the pain to settle. Any return to play rehabilitation process depends on the demands of your sport/s. Sport specific exercises are often incorporated with the regime, progressed to enable a safe and injury free return to play through gradually strengthening the tendon to enable it to be prepared to cope with the load placed on the tissue during sport.

What To Expect With Achilles Tendon Pain

Severity of tendon injury coupled with the individuals compliance to treatment and managing the loading exerted on the tendon ultimately determine how long your injury may take to settle.
As previously mentioned sadly there is no set time frame for recovery from Achilles pain. However you can still be active while your pain settles, ask your physiotherapist what is safe for you to continue doing whilst the injuries recovers.

Preventing Achilles Pain

  • Get coaching to ensure correct technique in your chosen sports to limit excessive stress on your Achilles and your body in general.
  • Wearing the correct footwear for your chosen activity.
  • When looking to progress your training adjust any frequency, intensity, duration and surface changes slowly.
  • Always allowing adequate recovery time between training sessions or workouts
  • Warm up and down appropriately for your chosen activity.
  • Stop exercising if you experience any pain or tightness in the back of your calf or heel area and commence RICE then seek professional advice.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on Treating Achilles Pain The Physiotherapy Way should consult his or her physiotherapist, sports medicine specialist, orthopedic surgeon or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.

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