Physiotherapy for Achilles Tendonitis

Tue Oct 24

Achilles tendinitis is a condition that causes pain in the back of the leg above the heel. It typically occurs with injury to the Achilles tendon. Tendons are bands of tissue that connect muscle and bone, specifically the calf muscle to the heel bone. This tendinopathy can occur with a sudden increase in exercise or activity, repetitive exercises, not warming up the calf muscle before exercise, inappropriate shoes for
exercise, or with bone growth to the heel bone which rubs against tendon.


The most common symptoms associated with Achilles Tendinitis are:

  • Pain in the back of the leg above the heel, especially in the morning
  • Swelling of the skin over the Achilles tendon
  • Trouble standing on tiptoe


There is no test specific for Achilles tendinopathy. Diagnosis is based on clinical symptoms and
performing an manual examination by your doctor or physiotherapist. Your physician may order an x-ray or other tests to make sure other conditions are not causing the symptoms.


Management of Achilles tendinopathy involve:

  • Rest and avoiding aggravating activities
  • Ice to the area to reduce inflammation
  • Ankle wraps during activity to limit tendon movement.
  • Pain medication – Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, etc.
  • Physiotherapy – activities to strengthen the calf muscle and increasing flexibility.

With unimproved symptoms, your doctor may recommend devices for your shoe or even surgery.


Achilles tendinopathy can improve on its own, however, it can take months to heal completely. Persistent irritation to the tendon will prevent healing, and may even result in tendon rupture. Tendon rupture may require surgery, but aggressive physiotherapy will be a mainstay of care.