Achilles Tendinopathy

What is it?

The Achilles tendon has to carry several times the human body weight. This burden is significantly increased when running and particularly sprinting. Over time, all tissues degenerate, causing inflammation and pain.

What causes it?

Whilst degeneration occurs naturally, it may be made worse by sudden increases in activity levels or even something as simple as a change of running shoes.

What are the symptoms?

Pain in the heel is usually the most significant problem. This is commonly associated with lumps over the tendon. The pain may be anywhere along the tendon and often very near the heel bone making it difficult to pinpoint the specific source.

How is the diagnosis made?

The doctor will listen to a description of the symptoms and will then examine the foot and ankle. Sometimes an MRI or ultrasound scan will be required to make or confirm the diagnosis.

What is the initial treatment?

Careful, graduated stretching of the tendon under the supervision of a physiotherapist. This may be combined with an uncomfortable deep massage that has been shown to break down scar tissue. It's also important to consider footwear and perhaps the addition of supportive insoles. However, tendons take a long time to heal and recovery from this condition is notoriously slow.

If the initial treatment doesn't work, what's next?

The initial treatment should continue for at least six months before any interventional action is considered. Occasionally surgery may be required and will depend on the underlying problem. The options include decompressing the tendon, lengthening the unit formed by the calf and the tendon or to replace the degenerated portion of tendon.

Our practice covers the following hospitals:

Parkside Hospital
For appointments phone : 0208 971 8026

St Anthony's Hospital
For appointments phone : 0208 335 4678

Ashtead Hospital
For appointments phone : 01372 221441

New Victoria Hospital
For appointments phone : 0208 9499000

Clock House Hospital
For appointments phone : 01372 840837