Achilles Tendinopathy (more commonly referred to as Achilles Tendonitis) can be the cause of some heel or ankle pain. It is considered to be an overuse injury of the achilles tendon, which connect the muscles of the lower leg to the heel of the foot. The cause of achilles tendinopathy is still unclear, but it is most often seen in runners and those that participate in running sports between the ages of 30-60 years old. Although the cause is unclear there are several risk factors for developing achilles tendinopathy including: obesity/overweight, training in cold weather, chronic diseases that affect tendon quality (diabetes, RA, high cholesterol, etc.), reduced plantar flexor muscle strength, reduced ankle range of motion (specifically dorsiflexion), moderate alcohol use, and more.
What Can You Do at Home to Treat Achilles Tendinopathy?
If you think you may have Achilles Tendinopathy, you can try a variety of things at home to get relief. The first is loading the tissue through exercises. Try doing some calf raises at home. If doing them with 2 feet does not cause any discomfort, try doing them only with the painful foot/ankle instead. It may seem counterintuitive, but you do want these exercises to be a little uncomfortable while doing them to make sure you are loading the tissue enough to be effective. Another option to treat achilles tendinopathy at home is to wear a night splint on the affected foot/ankle while you sleep. You can often buy night splints over the counter at your local drug store.
How Do We Treat Achilles Tendinopathy?
If these at-home strategies don’t help resolve your foot/ankle pain, make an appointment with us to get a full evaluation and more treatment options. In office, we can better determine if your pain is due to achilles tendinopathy or something else. If you do have achilles tendinopathy we can use chiropractic adjustments of the ankle, dry needling, therapeutic rehab exercises, and manual therapy (such as Graston or Active Release) to help resolve the issue.
-Dr. Lauren Bowen