Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles Tendinopathy

Stepping Towards Recovery: Managing Achilles Tendinopathy with Physiotherapy

Achilles tendinopathy is a common condition characterised by pain, stiffness, and swelling in the Achilles tendon (the large tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.) Whether you’re an athlete, a weekend warrior, or simply someone who enjoys staying active, dealing with Achilles tendinopathy can be frustrating and debilitating.

The Achilles tendon is one of the strongest tendons in the body, responsible for transmitting forces from the calf muscles to the heel bone during activities like walking, running, and jumping. Achilles tendinopathy encompasses a spectrum of conditions, including:

  • Achilles Tendinitis: Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, typically resulting from overuse or sudden increases in activity levels.
  • Achilles Tendinosis: Degeneration of the Achilles tendon, characterised by structural changes and breakdown of tendon fibres due to chronic overuse or repetitive stress.
  • Achilles Tendon Rupture: A partial or complete tear of the Achilles tendon, often occurring as a result of sudden forceful movements or trauma.

The Role of Physiotherapy:

Physiotherapy is an integral component of the management of Achilles tendinopathy, offering a multifaceted approach to rehabilitation. Here’s how physiotherapy can help individuals effectively manage Achilles tendinopathy:

  • Comprehensive Assessment: A thorough assessment by a physiotherapist is essential to evaluate the extent and severity of Achilles tendinopathy, identify contributing factors, and develop an individualised treatment plan tailored to the patient’s specific needs and goals. Physiotherapists employ various modalities and techniques to alleviate pain and inflammation in the Achilles tendon, including manual therapy, ultrasound, ice therapy, and electrical stimulation.
  • Range of Motion and Strengthening Exercises: Gentle stretching and range of motion exercises help improve flexibility and mobility in the ankle joint, reducing stiffness and promoting healing of the Achilles tendon. Targeted strengthening exercises aim to improve the strength and resilience of the calf muscles and Achilles tendon. Eccentric exercises, in particular, have been shown to be effective in promoting tendon healing and reducing pain in Achilles tendinopathy.
  • Biomechanical Assessment: Physiotherapists assess movement patterns, gait mechanics, and foot alignment to identify any underlying biomechanical issues or muscle imbalances that may contribute to Achilles tendinopathy. Custom orthotics or footwear modifications may be recommended to correct these issues and reduce strain on the Achilles tendon.
  • Activity Modification: Physiotherapists work with patients to modify their activity levels and modify their exercise routines to avoid exacerbating symptoms. Gradual progression of activities and proper warm-up and cool-down routines are emphasised to prevent re-injury.
  • Return to Activity Planning: As symptoms improve, physiotherapists guide patients through a gradual return to activity or sport, ensuring that they progress safely and minimise the risk of re-injury. This may involve sport-specific training, agility drills, and neuromuscular re-education to improve coordination and proprioception.

Tips for Managing Achilles Tendinopathy:

  • Rest and ice the affected area to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Perform gentle stretching exercises for the calf muscles and Achilles tendon regularly.
  • See a physiotherapist to incorporate eccentric strengthening exercises into your exercise routine to
    promote tendon healing.
  • Avoid activities that exacerbate symptoms, such as running or jumping, until symptoms subside.
  • Wear appropriate footwear with adequate support and cushioning to reduce strain on the Achilles


Achilles tendinopathy can be a challenging condition to manage, but with the guidance and support
of our skilled physiotherapists, individuals can effectively overcome their symptoms and return to
their desired level of activity. By addressing pain, improving flexibility, and strengthening the lower
limbs, physiotherapy empowers individuals to take control of their recovery and step towards a
future of pain-free movement and function. If you’re struggling with Achilles tendinopathy, don’t
hesitate to contact Physio Elements on (03) 9729 7777 to begin your journey towards healing and

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