For years and years and years I have been treating Achilles tendon in the traditional way, the way we were taught at university. Depending on the presentation this usually involved either one or a combination of the following;
- RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Heel raises
- Calf stretching and strengthening
- Heel drop protocols
- Changing footwear
- Shockwave therapy
- Cortisone injections (although this is not recommended)
- Taping and strapping
- ………….. and I am sure there is more.
Yes I had successes, and no I didn’t. What I found in most of the cases though is that no matter what we did the pain took a really long time to go away if it fully went away at all. I think they just learnt to live with and tolerate the pain. If fully resolved, at some stage the pain usually returned. Although orthotics were comfortable, clients did not want to wear them ALL the time. Some of the treatment options were quite uncomfortable for the patient. And so on……
Then I was introduced to the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. A protocol which had challenged everything I had learnt at university and tuned it upside down and inside out and I will NEVER look back. I think every Podiatrist needs to know this (that is just my personal opinion). I am now a different type of Podiatrist, not better, just different!
I was now able to treat all those chronic Achilles tendon issues, the chronic pain that people were just putting up with without resting, without orthotics, without changing footwear, without medication, without a lot of things mentioned above.
Of course everyone is different but what I was able to do was to get to the absolute bottom as to what was causing their pain and in 90% of cases relieve them of it and stop it returning all together. They were able to run around with their children and not worry about Achilles pain once they stopped. They were able to get out of bed without hobbling for the first 5 minutes or so until their Achilles “warmed up”. They were able to wear the shoes they wanted and didn’t have to worry about swapping their orthotics from one pair of shoes to another. They say they are FREE from their Achilles pain.
Let me give you a little case study. You will need to realise this is not the case for everyone but with my learnt protocol, I can generally find what the missing link is in relation to finding the cause someone’s foot pain and give them that little bit extra to help resolve the pain.
Mr X presented with ongoing Achilles pain issues. Mr X had come to see me because he had tried just about all of the above treatment options and he was very diligent with any tasks assigned to him. Although the pain was not getting any worse, he was finding it more difficult to recover from a football training session and the thought of giving up football because of his Achilles pain, well he didn’t even want to think about.
To cut a long story short I found a dysfunctional relationship between his gastrocnemius muscle and the rectus femoris muscle (or his calf muscle to his one of his quadricep muscles). With various testing I found his calf muscle (which connects to his Achilles tendon) to be doing all the work for his quadricep muscle (important to propel forward and push off) – which he was feeling in his Achilles tendon.
After releasing the calf muscle and activating the quadricep muscle, Mr X stood up and for the first time in a very ling time had no Achilles pain. The look on his face was awesome. It doesn’t stop there though. Mr X’s calf had been working for his quadricep for a very long time (a bad habit for a better word) and we therefore had to get good habits back in his system. We worked out how Mr X could release his own calf muscle and for how long and then how to activate the quadricep muscle without overdoing it so as to introduce the bad habit back into the body. Remember Mr X has had this pain for a while and as we all know, bad habits are hard to break. As a result of this we issued him with his personalised homework program which he is religiously doing.
Now I am not saying that everyone who has Achilles tendon pain has a dysfunctional relation between the calf muscle and the quadriceps, but there will be a dysfunctional relationship somewhere – we just have to find it!
If Mr X sounds like you, you have that chronic niggling Achilles pain which wont go away and you really want it to so you can get your life back or want to ask any questions about this then email directly firstname.lastname@example.org. I would really love to help you out.
Thanks for reading