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Achilles Tendinopathy Causes and Treatment

Updated: May 5, 2022

Achilles Tendinopathy Cause

Achilles tendinopathy refers to degradation of the achilles tendon. You may be more familiar with the term achilles tendonitis, as that was the commonly accepted name for decades. However, researchers have shown that this is a misnomer. Tendonitis refers to inflammation of the tendon, which does occur in tendinopathy, however, it is not the main cause of damage and symptoms. Think of hitting your finger with a hammer. The damage and pain is from the trauma from the hammer, the swelling in your finger is just part of that process. If you went to the doctor and they simply treated the swelling in your finger, they would be missing the real issue. In healthcare, we spend too much time worrying about inflammation. Swelling can be a marker of damage, but it is just a part of the bigger picture.

We also have a better understanding of the nature of tendinopathy. First, your tendon becomes reactive, meaning it is sensitized. This occurs from some initial damage or stimulus that the tendon is unable to handle. Imagine not running for months and then running 5 miles. You may not have done any serious damage, but your tendon is irritated. If you kept irritating the tendon, then there would be some breakdown. This is typically microscopic tears. It is important to remember that small tears are normal parts of everyday life, in fact it is how we grow muscles. Unfortunately, the achilles tendon gets very poor blood flow compared to other parts of the body, leading to slowed healing and recovery. It is also the largest tendon in the body and plays a significant role in any standing activity, particularly running or jumping.

achilles tendinopathy symptoms achilles tendinopathy treatment

It is important to remember that tendons are the connection between muscles and bones. The achilles tendon connects your calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus, to your heel bone or calcaneus. Any time you contract your calf muscles by rai