Achilles tendon injuries involve an irritation, stretch, or tear to the tendon connecting the calf muscle to the back of the heel. Achilles tendonitis is a common overuse injury, but can also be caused by tight or weak calf muscles or any condition that causes the tendon to become less flexible and more rigid, such as reactive arthritis or normal aging.

Achilles tendon injuries can happen to anyone who regularly participates in an activity that causes the calf muscle to contract, like climbing stairs or using a stair-stepper, but are most common in those who may not exercise regularly or take time to warm up and stretch properly before an activity. Among professional athletes, most Achilles injuries seem to occur in quick-acceleration or jumping sports like football, tennis, and basketball, and almost always end the season’s competition for the athlete.

Achilles tendonitis can be a chronic condition. It can also cause what appears to be a sudden injury. Tendonitis is the most common factor contributing to Achilles tendon tears. When a tendon is weakened by age or overuse, trauma can cause it to rupture.

Treatment will include a full biomechanical assessment of the lower limbs and foot position.Strengthening core and hip muscles is important to improve alignment and thus put less stress on the Achilles tendon. Eccentric ankle exercises help to alleviate strain on the tendon. Local soft tissue mobilisations and stretches will help ease the symptoms.