Achilles Tendinopathy is a relatively common injury that occurs due to the overuse of soft tissues. It can cause pain, swelling, inflammation and stiffness of the Achilles Tendon (also known as Calcaneal Tendon) which is situated at the back of the heel. The Achilles Tendon is a strong connective tissue which connects the calf muscles (Gastrocnemius and Soleus) to the heel bone (Calcaneus). The main function of the Achilles Tendon is in plantar flexion of the foot which refers to movement in which the toes point away from the leg. Common movements which utilise the Achilles Tendon include standing on tiptoes or pointing toes above. The Achilles Tendon also provides elasticity and shock-absorbance in the foot. These functions are extremely important for day to day activities such as walking, jogging, running and the movements involved in any sports.
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and it can withstand a lot of strain placed on it from movements such as running, jogging and jumping. However, it can be more susceptible to injuries due to overuse in repetitive activities. The Achilles Tendon may be subjected to degeneration because of the repetitive stress the tendon is exposed to from activities involving repetitive movements. This becomes a bigger problem especially when the Achilles tendon is unable to take and/or adapt to the repetitive strain placed on it which can lead to further damage within the tendon fibres. As a result, the body will try to protect the tendon through an inflammatory response which causes pain, swelling or irritation indicating that the area needs to be rested and treated.