FNQ Podiatry & Orthotics

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Achilles Tendon Pain Treatment Cairns

Achilles tendon pain treatment Cairns is available at each of the FNQ Podiatry and Orthotics clinics. Achilles tendon pain, otherwise known as Achilles Tendinopathy, is a chronic condition associated with degeneration of the largest tendon in the human body; the Achilles tendon. The condition was previously referred to as Achilles Tendinitis, with ‘itis’ referring to inflammation of the tendon. However, research into the condition found that it is more commonly associated with degeneration of the tendon, as opposed to inflammation, hence the term ‘Achilles Tendinopathy’. Whatever the name, we provide professional Achilles tendon pain treatment in Cairns.

The Common Symptoms Of Achilles Tendinopathy

Early treatment is critical, to prevent it becoming chronic.

Common symptoms of people presenting to our clinics with Achilles Tendinopathy include;

  • Pain at the back of the heel or ankle, when walking first thing in the morning or after rest. This pain generally gets better once you start walking around.
  • Pain when rising up on to your toes when walking or running.
  • Swelling around the back of the ankle or along the achilles tendon.
  • A pulling sensation at the back of the heel or ankle.
  • Heel pain if you have been walking around in flat or unsupported shoes for long periods of time. Symptoms are often relieved by wearing shoes that have a slight heel in them e.g. runners or wedges.

The Achilles is the insertional tendon of the Gastrocnemius and Soleal muscles (aka calf muscles) and is essential for everyday activities such as walking, running and jumping. Due to the tendon’s crucial role, it is subject to high repetitive stresses, and in conjunction with certain risk factors, can eventually begin to degenerate or break-down.

This degeneration usually occurs in one of two locations; the insertion of the Achilles tendon onto the heel bone, or mid-way through the tendon, which is normally up around ankle level. Given this, the condition is differentiated between insertional or mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy and is an important distinction for treatment. Both ‘forms’ of Achilles Tendinopathy are common conditions, and both should be treated aggressively, as early as possible. Early Achilles tendon pain treatment in Cairns, will help to reduce the risk of it developing into a chronic condition.

Why Did I Get Achilles Tendinopathy?

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Achilles Tendinitis/Tendinopathy can be caused by many risk factors and is most commonly seen in the active middle-aged population (women > men). The most common risk factors we see include:

  • Over-pronation (collapsed arches).
  • Tight calf muscles.
  • Weak calf muscles.
  • Poor footwear.
  • Sudden increase or change in activity e.g. going from being sedentary to running regularly without building into it.
  • Poor biomechanics e.g. poor running style.
  • Previous foot or ankle injury.
  • High arched feet with restricted ankle movement.
  • Occupational demands requiring you to stand on your feet for long periods of time.
  • Weight gain.

How Is Achilles Tendinopathy Diagnosed?

A thorough biomechanical examination will most commonly be enough to diagnose Achilles Tendinitis/Tendinopathy. Depending on severity of symptoms, you may/may not be referred for an x-ray, ultrasound or both. If a heel spur is present it will rarely change the treatment protocols, as approximately 70% of the population live with undiagnosed spurs which are pain free. For extreme cases who do not respond to conservative treatment, an MRI will be utilized, however this is extremely rare.

What are the Achilles Tendon Pain Treatment Options In Cairns?

Dry needling helps to loosen tight muscles.

At FNQ Podiatry and Orthotics our achilles tendon pain treatment Cairns options, are tailored around addressing your individual risk factors. Given this, your initial consultation will involve a thorough foot and lower limb biomechanical assessment, to determine what your contributing factors are. As with most foot problems, early treatment is the best form of treatment as this will help reduce your chances of it turning into a chronic condition. Common achilles tendon pain Cairns treatment options include:

  • Strapping to help off-load the Achilles tendon and heel.
  • Footwear alterations – avoiding flat shoes and getting your heel as high as possible.
  • Exercises before getting out of bed in the morning to help loosen your achilles.
  • Regular calf and foot/ankle stretching protocol.
  • Strengthening program to address any underlying weaknesses and to progressively load the tendon
  • Soft, custom foot orthotics to help off-load the achilles and reduce pulling against the heel.
  • Shockwave therapy.
  • Dry needling/massage to help loosen off tight muscles.
  • Altered training load to help reduce pressure through the area for the short-term.
  • For severe cases, a moon boot will often be recommended for 4-6 weeks to help de-load the Achilles tendon.
  • Surgical referrals are rarely required as 95% of cases respond to the above conservative treatment options.

Note: Cortisone injections are rarely recommended by Podiatrists for plantar fasciitis as they only provide short-term relief and often leave you with a more chronic case once it wears off.

How Long Will Achilles Tendon Pain Take To Get Better?

As mentioned above, the earlier you seek Cairns achilles tendon pain treatment, the quicker it will get better. A lot of people think it is a mild strain, that will get better on its own. This generally results in a lack of early intervention and symptoms can quickly escalate into a chronic issue. Our clinics provide effective achilles tendon pain Cairns treatment, for a range of patients. So, if you or any of your friends or family are suffering from pain at the back of the heel, contact our clinic today and we will get you on the road to recovery.