The Achilles tendon is the thickest tendon in the human body and serves to attach the long and short calf muscles to the heel bone. The main action of our calf muscles, along with the Achilles tendon, is to plantar flex our foot, such as pointing your toes.
There are multiple types of Achilles tendon injuries that patients can present with. These include a sprain, degeneration or a rupture of the tendon. A sprain can occur due to a single event in which the tendon is overloaded, or repetitive overloading over a period of time. A rupture typically occurs as a result of a single event during which the patient may hear a popping sound and then experience weakness of the calf muscle, but may also occur on a background of an already injured, weakened Achilles tendon.
Physiotherapists are trained to assess all types of Achilles tendon injuries, and will advise on appropriate management accordingly. Where a rupture is suspected, patients are usually referred for further investigation to confirm the diagnosis. Ruptures are typically managed conservatively with a CAM boot but may require surgery in some instances. Post-surgically, physiotherapist can assist in a carefully guided rehabilitation programme to assist in recovery and return to pre-injury activities and/or sports.
Achilles tendon sprains are usually managed with a graduated strengthening programme. Your physiotherapist will advise and guide you through a tailored programme specific to the stage of healing of the tendon. Treatment usually includes soft tissue therapy of the calf muscles and tendon itself, and may include massage and/or dry needling.
If you are concerned about Achilles tendon symptoms you may be experiencing, please don’t hesitate to call our clinic and book an assessment with one of our physiotherapists, who will guide you through the management of your specific condition.