The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, you can feel it at the back of your ankle – it’s the thick, springy tissue just above the heel.
Chronic Achilles tendinopathy is a painful condition and there are often unsatisfactory results with traditional treatment. Extracorporal shock-wave therapy (ESWT) has now been used for the management of various soft tissue conditions including Achilles Tendonitis.
If you are a runner or an athlete, you should be aware that achilles tendinopathy is roughly ten times more likely in runners vs age matched controls.
Achilles tendonitis can be caused by a number factors including:
Depending on the severity of the injury, these can include:
Chronic Achilles tendonitis may follow on from acute tendonitis if the condition goes untreated. This is a more difficult condition to treat, particularly in older athletes.
We will isolate the area that needs to be treated, then using our focussed shockwave equipment we will start sending gentle impulses to the area. Discomfort will be kept to a minimum and gradually the impulses will become more intense, although little pain will be felt and if it is it will gradually dissipate over a few days.
Generally, shockwave for achilles tendonitis and heel pain will resolve after three to four sessions, depending on your condition and how long you may have suffered with it, while early diagnosis can reduce the number of sessions needed.
It is important that you work with your physical therapist to ensure that you have an exercise regime and massage to ensure full recovery.
Patients who have suffered from Achilles tendonitis can often make a faster recovery and return to their sport or exercise regime by undergoing shock wave therapy. In independent research published by The American Journal of Sports Medicine shock wave therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for chronic insertional Achilles tendinopathy.
We are one of the few shockwave therapy specialist clinics in the UK with the expertise of treating Achilles Tendonitis using the latest Swiss engineered focussed shockwave equipment. We undertake this in conjunction with a course of physiotherapy to aid the outcome of the treatment.
We now use castor oil, rather than gel or petroleum jelly as the medium between the shockwave equipment and the patient for many of our shockwave procedures. We have found that the little pain that our patients feel is reduced when we use castor oil and we believe that the shockwaves reach the areas needing treatment more effectively. You can find out more about this, if you wish, by reading our news item Castor Oil versus Gel in Shockwave Therapy.