• Clare Lewey

Physiotherapy treatment for ankle pain

Effective treatment for achilles tendinopathy



The achilles tendon is the large tendon at the back of your ankle that attaches the calf muscles to the heel. Due to constant movement and having to support the full weight of your body, ankle tendinopathies, especially achilles tendinopathies are common and can be very painful.

Achilles tendinopathy often occurs as an overuse injury from activities such as running or jumping that stress the tendon. If you're the active type and have recently increased your running or jumping, the chances of injury are likely to increase. Even walking, however, can cause tendinopathy, especially if you have started to walk more or faster, or to include more hilly ground.

Self-management of your ankle pain or tendinopthy can be helpful: for example, initially decreasing or stopping, if pain necessitates, your exercise routines to lower the burden or strain on the ankle, using ice packs if there is swelling and elevating the swollen area when you are sitting. Just resting, however, is not a solution for most tendinopathies.


How can physiotherapy help achilles tendinopathy?


Whether you're suffering with ankle pain and need a diagnosis, or have already been diagnosed with Achilles tendinopathy by a doctor or consultant, getting professional help from a physiotherapist will help you recover faster and more effectively.

A physiotherapy clinical assessment will help identify the structural source of your pain, providing a diagnosis from which a planned course of treatment can be formulated.

Treatment of achilles tendinopathy normally involves strengthening your calf muscles and helping your achilles tendon tolerate stress with a series of progressive exercises. A treatment plan will address any issues such as abnormal range of motion, neuromuscular control or strength deficits that may be contributing factors to your tendinopathy. This assessment isn’t just focused on the foot and ankle, but looks at the feet, knees, hips and trunk as well. The focus of a good rehabilitation from achilles tendinopathy should be to progressively increase the capacity of the tendon, by exposing it gradually to strength and load exercises. Effectively, you're looking to build up the tendon so that it becomes more robust and to do it in a way that allows the tendon time to adapt.

Depending on the outcome of the clinical assessment, shockwave therapy could also be a highly beneficial course of treatment for the pain in your ankle. The increased success rate of Radial Shockwave therapy (shockwave therapy) for achilles tendinopathy in combination with progressive exercise is proven.

What is shockwave therapy and how is it used for the treatment of achilles tendinopathy?

Shockwave therapy is an established course of treatment if you suffering with heel pain symptoms associated with achilles tendinopathy. The application of shock waves, known as Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT), is an evidence-based, effective treatment that can reduce the symptoms and improve the rate of recovery of achilles tendinopathy.

The application of shock waves stimulates a metabolic response in the achilles tendon, causing an increase in blood flow and of pain relieving chemicals in the affected area. This is a catalyst for the healing process which includes the formation of new blood vessels, the breaking down of scar tissue and stimulation of new healthy tissue such as collagen. During the treatment, the shock waves create physiological change and this has a positive effect in reducing the pain. Although the reduction in pain is always a welcome relief, the primary reason for the application of Shockwave therapy to the achilles tendon is to promote healing. Shockwave is always given in conjunction with an exercise programme.

For further information on any of the treatments mentioned in this article, or to discuss treatment for your ankle pain, please contact Cotswold Physiotherapy on 01993 201485 or send your enquiry here

Witney Physiotherapy Centre

Suite 1, Bridge Street Mills

Witney, Oxfordshire OX28 1FX

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Telephone: 01993 201485

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