Don’t Let Your Achilles Tendon Become Your Achilles’ Heel

The constant ache of chronic Achilles tendonitis can make performing daily activities uncomfortable, and treatment options are not always effective. Because this condition is believed to be degenerative and associated with impaired healing, the tendon loses the natural ability to regenerate or self-heal as time goes on. Physicians often consider administering injections into or around the tendon to improve healing, minimize pain and reduce inflammation. The most commonly used injections are corticosteroids and platelet-rich plasma (PRP).

Corticosteroid injections typically involve shooting a small amount of cortisone around the affected tendon. While this type of therapy can effectively reduce ininflammation and swelling, there is a significant risk of tendon rupture. PRP is a newer therapy that involves taking a small amount of the patient’s blood and running it through a special machine to extract platelet cells that contain naturally occurring chemicals that stimulate a healing response in the body. These platelets are then injected into the tendon. Theoretically, PRP can help your body overcome chronic, degenerative conditions like tendonitis, but the evidence is not clear at this point. Regardless of which type of injection therapy your physician decides, it is important that you engage in a program of eccentric exercisesto help strengthen the calf muscle and reduce stress on the Achilles, gastrocnemius and soleus muscles by:

  • contracting muscle fiber
  • generating tension that strengthens the muscle
  • producing less strain during ankle joint motion
  • protecting the Achilles tendon

Performing eccentric exercises in three sets of 15 repetitions on each leg two times a day for 12 weeks appears to relieve and strengthen an aching Achilles tendon. We can help you by designing an individualized program that focuses on eccentric exercise. By following the program of exercises we provide, you will gain more flexibility, resume your normal activities and shortly return to your favorite sport, pain free.