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Treating Achilles Tendinopathy with Shockwave Therapy

Mar 11, 2022

What is Achilles Tendinopathy?

The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the human body, it attaches your calf muscles to the heel bone. Achilles’ tendinopathy is a common overuse injury caused by excessive compression of the tendon resulting from frequent overloading of the area. This can lead to a sudden injury, where the fibres within the tendon tear. It is seen most commonly in the mid‐portion of the tendon, but also occurs at the bone tendon junction near the heel of your foot. A lack of flexibility or a stiff Achilles tendon can increase the risk of injury.

 

How Can Achilles Tendinopathy Be Treated?

Conservative treatment and pain management is the first option which includes relative rest / reducing load from aggravating activties, applying ice, pain relieving anti-inflammatory medication and support devices. Physiotherapy treatment will incorporate hands on treatment with eccentric loading of the calf muscle and Achilles’ tendon. This is where the muscle will be working whilst being put on a stretch. This type of treatment offered up to 90% of patient’s full recovery in mid portion pain however is considerably less effective when the pain is more prominent closer to the heel. Conservative treatment is also less beneficial if there has been a period without effective management where the pain has become more chronic and the tendon becomes stiff and less responsive to lengthening exercise. General opinion within research suggests that around 25% of patients with chronic painful conditions will not gain beneficial effects from conservative treatment and surgical treatment is therefore needed. However, invasive treatments that involve surgery should be the last resort and with the added option of shockwave therapy there is now less need to refer patients for invasive treatment.

 

Shockwave Shows The Best Results For Treatment of Achilles Tendinopathy

Shockwave can help to initiate an effective healing process within the effected tissue surrounding the Achilles tendon. A recent meta-analysis of research published within the orthopaedic journal of spots medicine in 2020 found radial shockwave therapy to provide superior results in pain reduction and functional movement compared to comparison treatments. Significant improvements were found when using both low and medium energy levels and improvements were found in the short term as well as long term follow up assessments.

The number of treatment sessions required for maximal outcome varies depending on the history of the injury, typically up to six sessions may be necessary when the injury is more chronic. Research suggests that coupling radial shockwave therapy with eccentric loading of the Achilles tendon will produce optimum results, therefore treatment will incorporate shockwave therapy and home-based exercises to maximise results.

If you are struggling with pain around your Achilles or heel bone and finding it difficult to put weight through your foot then please enquire today about receiving shockwave treatment.

To book your shockwave appointments with Physio-logical, based in Rowlands Castle, Hampshire then please book online, call 02394 350270 or email us at enquiries@physio-logical.net. Research suggests 6 sessions are optimum at intervals of 5-10 days between appointments.

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