Is heel pain getting in the way of your new year new me resolutions?
One common cause of heel pain in both athletes and sedentary populations is Achilles Tendon Dysfunction. This condition may be better known as Achilles tendinopathy or tendinitis. However, there does not need to be inflammation in the tendon for it to become painful.
So, if everyone says exercise is good for me why am I in pain?
The reason for this may be because you went from doing little or no exercise to exercising 3-4 times a week or more. Most injuries happen because people go from 0-100 in the space of a couple of weeks and their body wasn’t prepared for it.
There are many risk factors for Achilles tendon dysfunction. These include muscle weakness, reduced flexibility or problems with how your foot contacts the ground as you walk or run. Some other factors include changes in training routine,jogging/running technique, footwear and the surface you’re exercising on.
So how do I know if my heel pain is Achilles tendon dysfunction?
The easy answer is ask your Chartered Physiotherapist☺. However if you want to decipher your symptoms yourself, ask yourself;
- Do I have tenderness over the tendon? (the thick band coming up from your heel to your calf muscles),
- Do you have pain first thing in the morning?
- Is the tendon swollen or does it look bigger/ thicker than the one on the other heel?
- Does the pain come on gradually after exercising?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you may have an injury to your Achilles tendon.
So, what do I do about it?
There are many treatment options available to help reduce the symptoms of Achilles tendon pain and allow you to continue your new years’ resolutions to increase activity levels and get fitter. First of all you will need to modify your current activity levels to reduce pain. This doesn’t mean stop exercising altogether and hope it settles by the following week. The injury occurred for a reason and until you get to the root of the problem it is likely that the pain will come again once you resume activity. There is a lot of current research informing us that an exercise programme to strengthen the surrounding muscles will help to get the dysfunction under control. However, in order to get to the cause of the problem and figure out how to stop it from happening in the future we recommend you book an appointment with your Chartered Physiotherapist who will advise you on the best treatment options for the condition.
Wishing you all the best for 2020,
The team at East Coast Physiotherapy.
‘Eccentric exercise training in chronic mid portion Achilles Tendinopathy: A systematic review on different protocols’, B Habets & REH van Cingel (2015) Scand J Med Sci Sports 25: 3-15
‘Exercise for tendinopathy’, Dimitrios. World Journal Methodology (2015)5(2) 51-54