Achilles Tendinopathy: Treatment Strategies
For Achilles tendinopathy, exercises will be targeting the muscles surrounding the Achilles tendon and progressively working towards high loading exercises where the tendon has to work harder.
You want to be able to get through each phase with little to no pain before progressing to the next phase.
1. Isometrics: This is where you hold a position for a period of time. Most commonly known isometric exercise is the plank. For Achilles tendinopathy, a good isometric exercise to start with is where you hold the calf raise at mid range for 10-30 seconds. The isometric exercise you begin with is determined by how severe your Achilles tendinopathy is and should be decided by your health professional.
2. Isotonics: this is where the muscle goes through shortening and lengthening range. An example would be double leg calf raises from flat ground, progressing to single leg calf raises from flat ground.
3. Eccentrics: This is where you’re focusing on the downwards part of the movement. An example would be double leg calf raises off a step progressing to single leg calf raises off a step.
4. Introducing plyometrics: exercises where you have to accept the load but not contract immediately afterwards. An example would be a 1m hop from one foot to the other going forwards or a drop and hold from a small box.
5. Plyometrics: exercises where you have to exert maximum force in short intervals of time such as repeated box jumps. They involve stretching and contracting muscles in quick succession of each other.
6. Running and change of direction: Exercises that mimic the sport or activities you want to return to and start building up your training volume again.
Timeframes for recovery can change person to person, and can also be impacted depending on how long you have had the issue for
Remember to check in with your physio if your symptoms persist!