You may know someone who has been diagnosed with Achilles tendonitis. Or maybe you were. If not diagnosed, the symptoms may be familiar…. pain and stiffness in the back of the heel particularly in the morning, swelling or thickening of the Achilles tendon, pain after activity. Achilles tendonitis is a common condition, especially in the spring as the weather warms up and people quickly increase their activity levels significantly above what they were during the cold winter months. It can also occur in individuals who have chronic tightness in their calf muscles.
When people start experiencing pain, one of the first things they usually think to do is look online. What is it? What caused it? How do I help it? When you look up Achilles tendonitis rehabilitation, you will likely find suggestions such as calf stretching, heel lift, heel raises, and massage. While these are general recommendations, not all of these suggestions will work for everyone due to different types of Achilles tendonitis requiring unique treatments.
If you begin experiencing these symptoms, you should rest from the activity that is causing pain and ice to decrease inflammation in the area. During this time, it is important to schedule an appointment with a Physical Therapist for a full examination. Accurate diagnosis by a medical professional is crucial in achieving a quick and complete recovery. Your Physical Therapist will also look for muscle imbalances that may have caused the injury to occur in the first place. They will then work to correct the imbalance to reduce the risk of future injury. Early rehab can help prevent this condition from becoming a chronic problem leading to longer rehab, allowing you to get back to living the life you love!
Kaitlin Wensinger, PT, DPT