A common condition in the sporting world is Achilles tendinopathy. Sports in which this injury is most prominent is running, walking, basketball, and other high impact sports.
The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. It allows you to push off the floor with a significant amount of force. When the calf muscle flexes, the Achilles pulls on the back of the ankle, creating movement and power. Despite its strength, the Achilles tendon is very prone to injury.
An Achilles tendinopathy is a general term for damage to his tendon, there are two types. Achilles tendinosis is the thickening of the Achilles tendon and does not normally swell. However, this thickening does cause weakness, which could lead to further injury such as Achilles tendinitis. Achilles tendinitis is caused by overuse and appears as swollen and sore to the touch.
Strengthening and stretching exercises: these are very useful in regaining strength and increasing mobility of the ankle, Achilles tendon and the calf muscles. This can be done by doing heel raises on the stairs and specific calf stretches. These exercises would be set during an appointment with a Sports Therapist to make them specific to the person and injury.
Rest and recovery: this is a key factor in any injury recovery (as discussed in a previous blog post). Reducing any training load and rest is a key component for improving an Achilles injury. Due to the progressive nature this specific injury, the return to sport should be very progressive in order to avoid re-injury. This is something that would be planned and set out with markers by a qualified Sports Therapist