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Achilles Pain and Management

Achilles Pain and Management

Author: Ally Martella
Date: May 30, 2023

Pain and soreness in the back of your ankle while running? Playing sports? Achilles pain is common in both the recreational athlete population and for individuals not performing high impact activities like walking or hiking. 

What is the Achilles tendon?  

The Achilles tendon connects two of the muscles of your calf, the soleus and gastrocnemius, to your heel. This tendon muscle complex provides the “going up on toes motion” we use to go upstairs, run, and even propel ourselves forward while walking 

What is Achilles tendinosis? 

 A tendinosis is a degenerative change to a tendon with visible physical changes to the integrity of the tendon impacting its strength, function, and potential for further damage.1 A tendinosis is typically characterized by pain in the Achilles area at the beginning and end and even during activity. There can also be swelling in initial stages that may be gone if the tendinosis is more chronic in nature.2 

How to manage Achilles tendinosis: 

  • Activity modification: in an acute stage, modification to activity level, including reduced intensity, load and frequency of aggravating activity are greatly effective.  
  • Load: Remodeling and repair of a tendon is directly stimulated by load placed on the tendon. That means it still needs to be used to help repair itself, though it must be prescribed appropriately. Physical therapy can help guide you on how to load this tendon safely and effectively with a combination of strength, stretching and soft tissue mobilization. 
  • Orthotics: in some cases, orthotics can be used to alleviate Achilles pain by altering mechanics at the foot during activity.  

If you are suffering from Achilles tendon pain, call us at Aligned Orthopedic and Sports Therapy to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists today to help you in the process. 

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  1. Khan, K.M., Cook, J.L., Bonar, F. et al. Histopathology of Common Tendinopathies. Sports Med 27, 393–408 (1999). 
  1. Maffulli N, Sharma P, Luscombe KL. Achilles tendinopathy: aetiology and management. J R Soc Med. 2004 Oct;97(10):472-6. doi: 10.1177/0141076809701004. PMID: 15459257; PMCID: PMC1079614. 


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