As many of us returned to sports and training after lockdown and isolation due to COVID-19, we are keen to return to our pre-COVID fitness and shape. With all good intentions, some of us went back to exercising with gusto and as hard as ever at the level we were at pre-COVID after a prolonged break. During those weeks to months of rest, the tendon in our body has also gradually reduced its capacity to tolerate load. As a result, the sudden spike in training load has caused some athletes to experience tendon pain. With us returning back to exercising, running, and jumping again, one of the most common tendon complaints is Achilles tendinopathy, which is pain in the Achilles located at the back of the heel.
Symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy can include pain and stiffness in the tendon, especially in the morning, tenderness when touching the tendon, a grating or creaking feeling when you move your ankle. The pain is usually worse after prolonged running, stair climbing, jumping, or sprinting.
Progressive Load Management is the Key
I hear you that you want to go back to doing the exercise or sport that you love and get your fitness back to former glory. So, you ask ‘how do I get better?’ This is where our physiotherapists at Sports Focus Physiotherapy can help you get back on track with your fitness goals. Our physio will help you identify the activities that have been provocative of your tendon pain and modify your training load to a level that your Achilles tendon can tolerate. With the treatment of tendinopathy, complete rest from exercise and loading will only further weaken the tendon. Progressive load management is the bedrock of Achilles tendon rehabilitation. Our physio can work with you to devise a progressive individualised exercise plan. By sticking to the rehabilitation plan and gradually increasing the tendon loading capacity to the desired level, you can return to the exercise or sport safely and pain-free!
Throughout the different stages of Achilles tendon rehabilitation, our physio may also choose to use a variety of additional treatment modalities to help in reducing acute pain and swelling and provide extra support to the tendon, such as the use of cold compression therapy, kinesio-taping, orthotics and footwear prescription, and shockwave therapy. Our physio can work with you to plan the best treatment for you to achieve your goals.
Be Patient – You will get there
Be a patient patient!! – you will return to your former sporting capabilities in time. For now, see your Sports Focus physio and get you back on track to getting fit and strong again.
BAppSc, Hons (Phty) APAM
(Northbridge and Willoughby)