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Achilles tendinopathy

Damage to the Achilles tendon fibres

Our consultants can help treat pain, swelling or stiffening of your Achilles tendon, often caused by too much exercise.

About

The Achilles tendon is one of the largest tendons in the body connecting your calf muscles to your heel bone. The Achilles is needed to stand on tip toes and is essential for walking, jogging and running. Tendinopathy is a condition which causes swelling and pain in the Achilles tendon and can occur after injury or overuse.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy icon plus

    There are two types of Achilles tendinopathy, insertional at its lower end, where it attaches to the heel bone, and non-insertional higher up the tendon towards the calf. Achilles tendinopathy is most likely to be an overuse injury, where small ‘micro tears’ can occur following an increase in activity or a change in training pattern, but could occur if you change your footwear. Typical symptoms include swelling and pain in the back of the heel. The symptoms are often worse on exertion, for example during sports, but if left untreated may get worse and start to effect everyday activities such as walking.
  • Screening and diagnosis icon plus

    Your consultant will start by carrying out a full clinical assessment to look at your biomechanical alignment as well as for any obvious thickening along your Achilles tendon. They will also test all your other joints for an underlying rheumatological cause. You might require an ultrasound scan or an MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis. Your consultant may ask about pain levels and give advice on how to manage these as well as come up with a recommended treatment plan.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    There are several treatment options available and your consultant will talk to you about which are best for you. Most cases of Achilles tendinopathy respond to a specialised physiotherapy rehabilitation programme. Other treatments may include a combination of: - orthotics, or foot posture - Shockwave therapy - steroid (cortisone) injections, which are only used in rare circumstances - surgery, which may be recommended for cases not responding to non operative measures
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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