Runners, sports enthusiasts, or any of you active folks out there may have experienced the agony of an achilles tendon injury. The pain around the band of tissue connecting your calf muscle to your heel bone, aka the achilles tendon, can be truly overpowering and can potentially affect your ability to bear weight. As it weakens with age, the achilles tendon can become aggravated with increased activity, leading to inflammation or small tears. When pain in the achilles tendon is present, it’s important to pinpoint the source and reason for the pain.
Where is my achilles tendon pain coming from?
Achilles tendonitis may be the result of ankle stiffness, calf weakness, a change in exercise routine, or even improper footwear. Although most cases of achilles tendinitis can be treated with just physical therapy, more serious cases of achilles tendinitis can lead to tendon tears/ruptures and may require surgery.
When should I seek treatment for achilles tendonitis?
If you experience pain or stiffness during activities that increase the demand of the achilles tendon, feel tenderness along the achilles, notice swelling in the back of the ankle, or feel pain after your first few steps in the morning, it’s a good idea to seek out achilles tendonitis treatment. Delaying achilles tendonitis treatment will only make recovery take longer and may increase the chances of your problem worsening.
How can physical therapy help with achilles tendonitis?
Your physical therapist will work with you to create a unique treatment plan, specific to your body and current condition. After a full body assessment, your physical therapist will address the source of the pain and get you back to your favorite activities as soon as possible. They may incorporate key factors into your treatment plan, such as:
• Manual therapy: skilled, hands-on techniques used to mobilize your achilles tendon and surrounding joints.
• Therapeutic modalities: ultrasounds and hot/cold therapy to reduce pain.
• Custom exercises: aimed to decrease achilles load and tears and target any weak or painful areas.
• Patient education: to discuss external factors causing pain such as footwear, running posture, or faulty movements in your daily routine.
Physical therapists can provide the necessary tools to prevent and/or treat achilles tendonitis, allowing you to return to your favorite activities pain-free and better than ever! To learn more about achilles tendonitis treatment or to eliminate any current discomfort, book a physical therapy assessment today.
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