Achilles Tendinitis

What is Achilles Tendinitis?

Achilles tendinitis is an irritation/inflammation in the Achilles tendon, which attaches to the back of the heel.  It is often a result of overuse and occurs frequently in runners who have altered their training suddenly, either with regard to duration or intensity.  This injury is also prevalent in middle-aged people who are active.

Symptoms of an Achilles Tendinitis

People with Achilles tendinitis experience:

  • Mild aching on the back of the leg close to the heel after increased activity
  • Stiffness in the back of the ankle when you first wake up in the morning, which subsides after mild activity
  • In some cases, the area may have swelling, thickening or be warm to the touch
  • Tenderness to touch along the tendon in the back of the ankle
  • Pain when the tendon is stretched (i.e. when you lift your foot/toes up)
  • Problems walking normally

How Physical Therapy can Help

In order to treat Achilles tendinitis effectively, it is important to complete a thorough examination of the entire lower extremity.  Once the true cause is identified, a comprehensive treatment program can be initiated to reduce inflammation and improve any faulty lower extremity biomechanics.

Treatment options may include:

  • Biomechanical analysis of gait
  • Splinting/bracing to alleviate the strain on the tendon
  • Soft tissue mobilization/manual therapy to decrease inflammation and promote healing of the tendon
  • Strengthening/flexibility and proprioceptive exercises
  • Home exercise program
  • Modalities for pain and inflammation (i.e. ultrasound, iontophoresis, electrical stimulation, ice)
  • Methods to alter faulty mechanics (i.e taping, orthotics)
  • Education about lifestyle changes (i.e. proper shoes, activity modification)
Outpatient Physical Therapy