4 Myths About Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy is a common degenerative injury amongst people who are involved in running. Development of the condition can occur due to several issues including; muscle power and tendon elasticity imbalance, a sudden increase in training intensity or duration and inadequate warm-up before the completion of an explosive activity. 

There are many myths out there related to achilles tendinopathy. Some are old wives tales, some are literally from greek mythology and others are from research that over time has become outdated. So today, we take a look at 4 myths that you may have come across with achilles tendon injuries.

Myth 1: I need to completely rest my achilles

Just because an increase in load was the likely cause of your achilles pain, does not mean a complete load reduction is the answer either. In fact, using a structured strength and conditioning program to load the achilles appropriately is the gold standard in achilles tendinopathy management.

Myth 2: Cortisone will make it go away

In some circumstances, cortisone injections may be appropriate however, without addressing the underlying cause of the pain the injection is likely to only provide temporary relief. Good evidence has shown that multiple cortisone injections can actually weaken the achilles further, this has seen tendon ruptures occur.

Myth 3: I cannot exercise with achilles tendinopathy:

Although some activities may be inappropriate in the short term there is no reason why exercise needs to cease altogether. In many cases it is suggested that explosive exercise is ceased but walking, running, cycling and swimming are still viable options. The main objective when completing any of these activities is to keep your pain limits below 4/10

Myth 4: It feels tight, I should just stretch it:

Prolonged stretching of the achilles tendon while in a degenerative state has been shown to increase swelling and delay healing. Tendons do not respond well to stretching as they are required to be stiff with a high tensile strength to do their job.

How we can help:

The diagnosis and management of achilles tendinopathy involves more than palpating the painful area. Understanding your history around what leads to the development of the injury, an assessment of how your body functions when walking and running, as well as understanding your footwear and everyday habits is essential in providing the best individualised management plan for your recovery.

If you are showing signs or symptoms of achilles tendon pain, please do not hesitate to contact one of our highly experienced podiatrists.

By Jackson McCosker - Podiatrist at Melbourne Podiatry Clinic