Achilles Tendinopathy

April 19, 2023

Achilles tendinopathy is a common condition that affects the Achilles tendon, the largest and strongest tendon in the body that connects the calf muscles to
the heel bone. It causes pain, stiffness and swelling in the back of the heel, and can interfere with walking, running and other activities that involve weightbearing on the foot. In this blog post, we will explore what causes Achilles tendinopathy, how to prevent it and how to to treat it.

What causes Achilles tendinopathy?

Achilles tendinopathy is usually caused by overuse and excessive load on the tendon. This can happen when you increase your physical activity too quickly, change your training surface or footwear, essentially anything that loads you past your achilles capacity. The tendon becomes inflamed and and can develop tendon changes, which can lead to pain and reduced function.

Achilles tendinopathy can also be associated with some medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, which can affect the blood supply and healing of the tendon.

How to treat Achilles tendinopathy?

Load management is key. Reducing, running, walking or any other load to the point where symptoms are reduced to a tolerable level is step one.

The main treatment for Achilles tendinopathy is resistance based rehab, which aims to restore the function and strength of the tendon and prevent recurrence.

Starting off with heavy holds (isometric exercise) is less likely to irritate the tendon. From there building through slow movements under load such as a calf raise with added resistance will build strength in the tendon.

Once symptoms are under control and strength has been improved or restored to the achilles calf complex then a graded return to faster activities can occur. If you’re retiring to running or jumping this usually starts in the form of light double leg jumps. progressing all the way to harder single leg jumping.

From there load management is key. Making sure to control not sure total time or distance but also the intensity and gradient which you’re covering can influence achilles pain.

Additional things to look at include running technique, nutritional interventions such as collagen ingestion and if symptoms aren’t responding we’ll get you in front of the sports doctor to explore other options.


Achilles tendinopathy is a common but treatable condition that can affect anyone who engages in physical activity. By doing good rehab and managing load appropriately you can return to your normal activities stronger and better.