Is there a Proven Achilles Tendonitis Home Treatment?
A 44 year old male presented to the heel clinic for pain relieving management and Achilles tendonitis home treatment advice. This gentleman was a recreational runner and enjoyed field soccer on the weekends. He was a member of a local amateur football team in the Eastern suburbs league. He had been suffering with Achilles tendonitis for more than 7 months and had received 10 sessions with his physiotherapist. In addition to deep tissue massage and dry needling, the physiotherapist had recommended eccentric loading exercises as a form of Achilles tendonitis home treatment. The patient had been diligent with the exercises but found little improvement. While carrying out the Achilles tendonitis home treatment, the patient found severe discomfort when loading the heel. He described to the sports podiatrist an ongoing pain which would subside if he pushed through the home treatment. Shortly after the exercises the patient reported an increase in heel pain for approximately 30 minutes. Eventually this increase in heel pain symptoms would normalise. The patient was not sure if he should be carrying out Achilles tendonitis home treatment or if he should be instead seeking the help of medical practitioners. So far, the patient had been unable to find resources confirming a proven Achilles Tendonitis home treatment.
This gentleman described an increase in his symptoms each morning when he woke and began to walk around his bedroom. The stiffness and heel pain would begin to subside within the first 20 minutes of his day. Typically, this patient also described start-up heel pain which he would experience after long periods of being seated. Achilles tendonitis home treatments were not helping with these symptoms and his condition was becoming chronic. In frustration he went to see his local GP who referred him for ultra sound imaging. The report from the imaging centre confirmed thickening of the Achilles tendon approximately two centimetres above the insertion at the heel bone. There was inflammatory change surrounding the tendon, consistent with Achilles tendonitis. The GP advised the patient to stop the Achilles tendonitis home treatment but instead seek the help of a sports podiatrist.
Assessment of Achilles Tendonitis
The sports podiatrist advised the patient that Achilles tendonitis home treatment can be risky but following a physical and biomechanical assessment he would be able to advise the patient accordingly. Occasionally, there are some gentle home treatments for Achilles tendonitis that can be beneficial. The sports podiatrist applied lateral finger and thumb pressure to the shaft of the Achilles tendon in the area described in the ultrasound report. The patient confirmed significant pain on palpation, confirming the diagnosis Achilles tendonitis. The sports podiatrist agreed that eccentric loading is a very common form of Achilles tendonitis home treatment, but that in many cases it aggravates the tendon and prolongs the condition. Heel pain relief is short-lived following these exercises but this does not guarantee the desired outcome. Further assessment with the sports podiatrist revealed restricted range of ankle joint motion due to tight calf muscles. It was explained to the patient that this was probably the cause of the Achilles tendonitis. The patient confirmed that he had been experiencing cramping in his lower legs and that his muscle range had felt different. It was explained to the patient that there are many causes of tight calf muscles such as an increase in body weight, an increase in the level of activity or the use of non-supportive shoes. In addition to the treatments recommended by the sports podiatrist it was recommended that the patient carry out a very specific calf stretch as a form of a Achilles Tendonitis home treatment. The sports podiatrist demonstrated the stretching technique and ensured the patient was able to successfully perform the exercise. Some of the classic forms of stretching can irritate the Achilles tendon, therefore the patient was advised to refrain from other stretches. He was requested to carry out this specific calf stretching technique only. In terms of other forms of Achilles tendonitis home treatment, the sports podiatrist explained the pros and cons of heat packs versus cold packs. The patient was also advised thoroughly on the correct use of footwear. It was apparent that his current running shoes showed signs of wear and were not providing specific support. While Achilles tendonitis home treatments are beneficial, it would be extremely important to replace this patient’s running shoes in order to achieve the desired outcome. Continued use of his softer and non-supportive running shoes would render the Achilles tendonitis home treatments ineffective.
Other Types of Achilles Tendonitis Home Treatment?
This patient was advised to avoid the other types of Achilles tendonitis home treatment, of which there are many. Some of the existing treatments have been advised for many years and can be described as traditional. Exercises such as dropping your heel off a step or raising up onto your tiptoes are some of these traditional therapies but have been found to be less effective in some people.
If you have tried Achilles Tendonitis home treatment but still experience stiffness and pain you may benefit from an assessment with a sports podiatrist.
Podiatrist Karl Lockett
The following stretch has mixed results and can prolong symptoms in some patients.