What is Achilles tendon pain?

​The Achilles Tendon can be found at the back of the heel and is made up of the two calf muscles – the gastrocnemius and soleus.


Pain in the heel region is referred to as Achilles Tendinitis (acute inflammation of the tendon) or in chronic cases,Achilles tendinosis. Both refer to a disorder in the Achilles Tendon. If a tendinosis is not treated early on, the tendon can begin to degenerate and snap in worst case scenarios.

Causes :


  • Over training or unaccustomed use of the calf complex – “Too much too soon”
  • Flat feet – collapsed arch
  • High foot arch
  • Changes in training surface – road running / grass running
  • Poor support in footwear
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Toe running during sprinting
  • Long term use of high heels
  • Poor balance
  • Poor strength and coordination of the hip, knee, ankle


Pain initially during the start of an activity that may diminish once the area is warm

  • Stiffness of the ankle in the night time / early morning
  • The area may be swollen, red, tender if inflammation is present
  • The Achilles tendon may be thickened
  • Reduced strength and pain with activation of the calf



Phase 1:

  • Pain management
  • Soft tissue release of the calf
  • Calf stretches
  • Heat packs
  • Strapping or use of a heel raise to offload the Achilles
  • Reduce training load
  • Education on activity modification
  • Orthotics if appropriate


Phase 2:

  • Specific tendon loading exercises appropriate for you
  • Ultrasound of the region may be requested for optimal outcomes


Phase 3:

  • Sports specific training
  • Education to prevent recurrence


What results should you expect?

Your physiotherapist will give you a better idea of where you are in the tendinosis cycle and tailor your treatment appropriately. You can generally expect recovery within 6-12 weeks of commencing your exercises. Come in and see us today so we can sort you out!