- Tendinopathy is a term that describes ‘wear and tear’ within a tendon. This usually occurs due to a direct trauma to the Achilles tendon or more commonly through an increased load to the tendon over a period.
- The tendinopathy is usually located in one of 2 spots. The middle of the tendon termed a ‘mid portion tendinopathy’ or where the tendon inserts onto the bone ‘insertional tendinopathy’.
- Depending on the severity, stage and needs of the individual the tendinopathy recovery can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months.
- Usually the cause is due to a recent change in load, for example;
- Increased frequency of training
- A single high intensity session or multiple sessions with inadequate rest time.
- Change in footwear
- Change in training surfaces (grass to road)
- Training with tight calves/muscles
- Returning to exercise after a period of rest (like being sick)
- As the Achilles is sensitive to load changes, when treating the Achilles for pain it is important that we reduce the load that is aggravating it.
- We may need to strap/tape or add a heel raise to your shoe to deload the tendon through the day.
- Assessment of the local muscles, ligaments and joints if vital. Acupuncture and specific muscle release work is essential to minimize pain and regain flexibility to the tendon as quickly as possible.
- Rehab involves regaining strength and flexibility to the tendon. The tendon needs to be gradually exposed back into exercise and as such the process for full rehabilitation can be slow at times.