Achilles Tendonitis occurs when the shared tendon containing the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the leg become inflamed. One of the major symptoms of this is back-of-heel pain.
Those with an equinis deformity, or who often run uphill, are particularly vulnerable to this problem. When the tibia moves over the foot, the ankle joint must be able to dorsiflex a minimum of 10 degrees. Sometimes tightness of these muscles prevents this, resulting in damage to the tissues of the tendon. Over-pronation can also reduce the area’s blood supply, “wringing out” the arterial blood and leaving the tendon without vital oxygen. This occurs when the tendon twists, and is associated with over-pronation of the foot. Thankfully, there is effective heel pain treatment available.
The first step is to ensure inflammation is reduced. This can be achieved through applying ice and using various electrical modalities. To help ease discomfort, all shoes should be fitted with a heel lift to reduce the strain placed on the tendon, providing effective back-of-heel pain treatment.
During this initial treatment, the patient should not stand barefoot. Only after the acute phase has passed can the patient introduce a stretching program. Even then, appropriate foot orthotics will need to be prescribed, reducing over-pronation. It’s also recommended to add heel lifts to the orthotics, and minimise instances of running up-hill.