The Achilles tendon and pain.

The Achilles tendon and pain.

The Achilles tendon and pain.

When it comes to major injuries, the Achilles tendon isn’t usually the first one we think about. However, it is one of the most common body parts to become injured in athletes or people who live highly active lifestyles. 1 in 4 athletes experience an Achilles tendon injury.

The Achilles tendon is the strongest and largest tendon in the body, averaging about 15 centimeters in length, but it can be up to 26 centimeters long in some people. It can handle up to 4x the person’s body weight, and due to this stress, it’s easy to see why it can become a common injury. No wonder it was named after the unstoppable Greek warrior from the Trojan War.

There are specific disorders that can affect the Achilles tendon:

  1. Anterior Achilles tendon bursitis: Walking, often in improper footwear such as high heels, inflames the bursa at the back of your heel, which can lead to pain, redness, and swelling in this area.
  2. Posterior Achilles tendon bursitis: Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout can inflame this bursa. Extra stress and pressure over this area can also cause it to become inflamed.
  3. Achilles Tendinopathy: This can either be from tendonitis, where the tissue of the Achilles becomes inflamed, usually due to overuse or overexertion, or from tendinosis, where there is degeneration of the Achilles tendon fibers, usually resulting in thickening.
  4. Tendon Rupture: This is where the Achilles tears partially or fully to the point it detaches from its origin or insertion point, and is normally caused by a sudden change of direction or sudden force exertion, like jumping.
  5. Achilles Paratenonitis: The sheath that covers the tendon to its origin or insertion point becomes inflamed.

As Osteopaths, we have a firm understanding of Achilles tendon problems and how they can be treated. However, foot and ankle injuries are very complex, as this is a highly intricate area of the body made up of many small and mobile structures. These structures are able to withstand the weight and motion consistently exerted by the human body and more. This is why it is important to see trained and experienced professionals like Osteopaths who can help.

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Osteopathy works with the structure and function of the body, and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments, viscera and connective tissues functioning smoothly together Osteopathy takes a holistic, whole-body approach to healthcare.