What is an insertional Achilles Tendinopathy?
This condition is characterized by pain localized to the lower part of the Achilles tendon (just above your heel). Activities that require significant force (ie sprinting) or compressive loads (stretching) will typically aggravate symptoms. It is a common misconception that this condition involves inflammation of the tendon. Although the tendon may swell or become enlarged, this is typically water retention (not blood).
Tendinopathies can develop for a number of reasons including (but not limited too):
- Certain medications
- A sudden change in training load or intensity
- Associated systemic illnesses or conditions
- Changes in equipment or training surface
What to avoid:
- Yes ... rest will make you worse!
- Tendons are an active tissue and although resting may make you feel good while you rest ... your tendon(s) will likely become weaker and more irritable on return to activity
- Tensile load:
- Compressive load:
- Stretching the Achilles tendon or calf! Although this may feel good (or hurt so good) acutely, this may exacerbate your symptoms as it will created a compressive force to the under surface of the tendon
- Running/sprinting up hill
What can be done?
A graded strengthening program delivered by a physiotherapist currently has the best level of evidence for reducing pain and improving physical function (yes more than injection therapies and surgery). There is no quick fix for this condition and you should expect your rehabilitation to take months!