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Achilles tendon complaints

The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the human body. This tendon transfers the forces from the deep and superficial calf muscles to the heel bone. This ensures a powerful push off of your foot while running or jumping. Achilles tendon complaints can be divided into 3 groups:

  1. Inflammation of the bursa behind the Achilles tendon

  2. tendonitis

  3. (partial) rupture of the tendon

1. Bursa (bursa)

A bursa is a fluid-filled sac. This pocket ensures that the friction between the Achilles tendon and the heel is reduced.

2. Tendonitis (Tendinitis)

When there is too much force on the Achilles tendon, damage to this tendon can occur. As a result, the Achilles tendon will change: the tendon will degenerate (wear out) and thicken.

3. Tendon Tear

When the force on the Achilles tendon is very high, there is a possibility that it will tear. Often the rupture is preceded by a period of tendonitis, which makes the tendon weaker than normal.

 

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?

Achilles tendon complaints are caused by persistent or repeated overload of the Achilles tendon. They are often seen in people who practice sports with a high walking and/or jumping load. About 2/3 of people with Achilles tendon complaints practice sports.

In addition, the Achilles tendon weakens as we age. As a result of irritation of the outer parts of the tendon, inflammation can develop. An inflammation of the bursa may be present at the same time.

Causes of overload can be:

  • too high sports load;

  • too rapid build-up of sports load;

  • abnormalities of the feet or gait,

    eg 'pronate' too much (sag inwards);

  • 'blocks' in foot or leg, eg a 'stuck' ankle;

  • walking on 'wrong' footwear;

  • suddenly turning vigorously on the foot;

  • shortened or stiff muscles;

  • difference in leg length ;

  • overweight;

  • ankle instability.

 

WHAT ARE THE (PAIN) COMPLAINTS?

 

Bursitis

This complaint usually starts at the back of the heel, sometimes accompanied by redness and swelling. The buttress (heel of the shoe) can irritate the painful area, making it painful to wear shoes.

 

Tendonitis

  • The pain has developed gradually.

  • The Achilles tendon is swollen and painful.

  • The pain is related to (sports) load.

  • There can be less sports or the sports performance is less good.

  • There is often morning stiffness.

 

Achilles tendon tear

If the complaints below are present, we advise you to contact your doctor as soon as possible . This could be due to a rupture of the Achilles tendon.

The pain came on suddenly.
You have felt a 'snap' in your Achilles tendon or calf.
You have the idea that a 'dimple' can be felt in the Achilles tendon.
You can no longer stand on your toes.

WHAT CAN WE MEAN FOR YOU?

If the (sports) podiatric examination shows that there is a cause in the foot position and/or the walking pattern, we have the following treatment options:

  • Mobilization foot and/or leg
    Improve mobility of the foot and/or leg.

  • Taping
    To get immediate pain relief, the foot can be taped.

  • Insoles for everyday use and/or sports
    To optimize foot position and gait.

  • Shoe advice
    The sports podiatrist can give targeted (sports) shoe advice

 

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR THE PAIN COMPLAINTS GO AWAY?

The healing of an Achilles tendon complaint takes an average of 3-4 months, depending on the severity and duration of the complaints. It is important that the prescribed aids, training schedule and exercises are followed properly.

With prolonged overload, the normal arrangement of the tendon fibers can change. There is then no more beautiful microscopic structure of the tendon fibres. Complete recovery of the tendon takes more time with these long-term complaints and will not be successful for everyone.

 

WHEN CAN I SPORT AGAIN?

It is important to gradually build up the (sports) load again when the complaints are no longer or hardly present in daily life. A (sports) physiotherapist can guide you further on how to properly resume your sports activities.

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