Jane Breen-Turner, with over 18 years as a Physiotherapist, shares her clinical expertise with us on treatment for Achilles Tendonitis…………..
We are often given the diagnosis “Achilles Tendonitis” which suggests the tendon is inflamed. This has never been found to be the case – so what is meant by this term and what effects does this have on treatment & management?
The Achilles is a tough band of fibrous tissue formed by both the deep calf muscle, Soleus, and the more superficial calf muscle, Gastrocnemius. Small sacs of ‘bursa’ cushion it against the heel. It is a contractile tissue that attaches these two muscles to the heel bone, the ‘Calcaneus’. It’s the largest and strongest tendon in the body but seems more vulnerable to injury than expected. Its function is to act as a lever around the ankle joint allowing you to stand up onto your toes while walking, running or jumping. One possible reason for its vulnerability are the high tensions and loading we place through it. Coupled with the fact it doesn’t have as good a blood supply as muscle, therefore can take time to heel. Most important is getting the diagnosis correct so that the most effective treatment and management can follow.