5 Important Things You Should Avoid If You Have Achilles Tendonitis 

Tendinopathies, popularly known as tendinitis, are one of the most common injuries. 

In most cases, heel pain is due to overuse of the foot. It is rarely caused by an injury. 

Achilles Tendonitis due to overuse of tendon is more common among young people. It can happen in walkers, runners, or other athletes. 

Achilles tendonitis is more common in middle-aged and older adults. A spur or bony growth may form on the back of the heel bone. This can cause pain and swelling to your Achilles tendon. 

it is important to know what to do when we suffer from tendinopathy, “tendinitis”. 

This will require a progressive adaptation to the load in order to recover its capacity, a process that requires perseverance and good planning by a competent health professional. 

First What You Can Do at Home (Personal Care)

Follow these steps to relieve symptoms and help your injury heal: 

  • Apply ice to the Achilles tendon for 15 to 20 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day. Use an ice pack wrapped in a cloth – Do not apply ice directly to the skin. 
  • Take pain relievers to reduce swelling and pain. 
  • Wear a walking boot or heel wedges, if your health care provider recommends it. 

Talk to your health care provider before using pain relievers if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or if you have had stomach ulcers or internal bleeding in the past. Do not take more than the amount recommended on the container or by your health care provider.

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What not to do when you have Achilles tendinopathy (tendonitis)

We are going to discuss the top 5 aspects to take into account when you have Achilles tendonitis. 

#1. Do not over-stretch the tendon.

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In addition to activity-related loads that, in the given situation, stress the tendon excessively for its current capacity, the tendon is also sensitive to compressive loads. 

When we stretch a tendon, we can be causing these forces, especially in tendons such as the Achilles tendon; the tendon of the outer wrist and fingers, related to the so-called tennis elbow; or the gluteus minimus and medius tendon related to gluteal tendinopathy or trochanteric pain syndrome. 

#2. Do not remain on total rest.

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Rest does not improve tendinopathies, in fact, it can make the tendons even more ineffective in their function. 

 In addition, total rest can make us lose muscle strength, which can be an added problem to tendinopathy. In general, complete rest is not a good idea for any injury except in very specific cases.  

When our patients come to the consultation it is very common for them to tell us that they have tried to stop performing the task that causes them problems several times and that, although when they stop the pain has disappeared and they have improved in that aspect, as soon as they try to return to perform the task still have the same problem. 

The common comments are: “I’m back too soon” or “I haven’t stopped or enough”. 

Nothing is further from reality, what has happened is that they have reduced the demands but have not improved the capacity of the tendon to bear loads. 

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#3. Do not take shortcuts in the treatment of tendinopathy or tendinitis.

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The tendon responds slowly to the process of adaptation to loads.  

In the bibliography, it is generally said that a well-designed program should last at least 12 weeks, that is, the minimum period that is expected to have optimal results is approximately 3 months. 

This does not mean that you are not going to notice benefits with the treatment until the 12 weeks have passed, but the process will be progressive.  

This period, of course, is variable depending both on the characteristics of the patient and the affected tendon.  

Remember that shortcuts and passive treatments usually only have short-term benefits and may be delaying your recovery by preventing you from engaging in a well-designed exercise program. 

#4. Don't worry about the tendon breaking.

image for broken achilles tendon

Although it may not seem like it, pain protects your tendon, in fact, most people who suffer a tendon rupture have not had pain before.  

Also, remember that as we have mentioned before, the tendon can be perfectly functional even if we have an imaging test (ultrasound or MRI) that indicates that your tendon does not have perfect characteristics. 

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#5. Do not massage the tendon.

image for do not massage your achilles tendon

A painful tendon is telling us that it is irritated and overloaded, so adding more irritation through friction and massage will never be the solution, on the contrary, it will increase your pain. 

On some occasions, the tendons may seem relieved after a massage but it is only a momentary effect, it will hurt again as soon as we subject it to the load again. 

First What You Can Do at Home (Personal Care)

Tendons have their own characteristics and a specific type of treatment. Currently, the treatment that has the best results is based on the modification of the loads to which the tendon is subjected and on a progressive adaptation through a therapeutic exercise program. 

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to the treatment of tendinopathy, passive treatments such as massages or injections have not been shown to be effective in the long term. 

In short, to be successful in treating tendinopathy, you have to get down to work and work on improving the load capacity of the tendon, hand in hand with a specialized physiotherapist. 

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