Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis (or tendonosis) can happen to almost anyone.  Most of the time, I see it in distance runners, soccer players, triathletes and other athletes who do a lot of running or jumping.  That being said, it is also common in people who wear certain types of footwear, like high heels, or anyone who has tight calf muscles. 

What are the symptoms?

Achilles tendonitis is associated with tenderness, pain, swelling and stiffness in the area around your ankle.  Sometimes, the pain is just in the tendon or the back part of your heal.  Other times, aching or burning will spread to your whole ankle.  Pain may be worse with stretching, standing on your toes or during / after exercise. 

So What Is It?

The Achilles tendon is that big tendon on the back of your lower leg.  Tendons attach muscles to bones.  The Achilles tendon attaches your calf muscles, the gastrocnemeus and the soleus, to your heel bone, the calcaneus.  Achilles tendonitis is a condition that happens when that tendon gets irritated.

Lots of things can cause the tendon to get irritated.  Running and jumping – especially if you just increased your training volume – can overstress that tendon.  Runners who over pronate or over supinate may also be at greater risk.  Tight calf muscles and certain types of footwear can also put extra stress on your Achilles tendon.  When the condition becomes chronic, it is called Achilles tendonosis – a chronic abnormal / degenerative condition of the tendon.

The Good News

Achilles tendonitis / tendonosis often respond well to conservative treatment.  When you come in for your appointment, we’ll examine your ankle and tendon.  We’ll also examine your calf muscles to see if they are tight or if there are trigger points that could be putting extra stress on your Achilles tendon.  We’ll look at your gate (how you walk) and check for muscle imbalances that could be causing you to pronate or supinate.

Trigger points and muscle imbalances usually respond well to the dry needling acupuncture and tuina soft tissue therapies that we specialize in.  If you think you may be suffering from Achilles tendonitis, give us a call at (315) 935-5700 to schedule your appointment today!