The Achilles tendon attaches your calf muscles to your heel bone, or calcaneus. You use this tendon to jump, walk, run, and stand on the balls of your feet. Achilles tendonitis is when the tendon becomes inflamed, painful and if it is not caught early, can be difficult to cure.
In this article we explain the symptoms, causes, exercises and a newly developed wearable ultrasound device.
Causes of Achilles Tendonitis
- Suddenly increasing your exercise without having a proper warm up
- Playing sports that require swift or rapid movements
- Wearing poor fitting footwear
- Using high heels for long periods of time
- Running on uneven surfaces
- You are at increases risk if you are elderly, male or suffer with bone spurs.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis
Acute Achilles Tendonitis:
- The symptoms develop gradually over a few days.
- You will feel pain and stiffness in your Achilles tendon at the back of your ankle.
- It is more painful first thing in the morning, or after a period of rest. Then, as your tendon warms up the pain reduces.
- Your Achilles will be very tender when feeling or squeezing it from the sides.
- There may also be a lump in the middle of your tendon you might be able to feel.
Symptoms of chronic Achilles Tendonitis:
If your injury goes untreated or you do not rest it may turn from Acute tendonitis to Chronic symptoms. Long term tendonitis/tendinopathy is difficult to treat.
- There is a gradual onset of pain over a period of weeks or even months.
- The pain will come on during exercise and will continue throughout the session.
- You will have pain when walking, especially uphill or upstairs because the Achilles tendon has to stretch further than normal.
- Chronic Achilles pain does not necessarily prevent activity but can continually niggle away.
Be aware that this may be a precursor for something more serious, such as a total rupture which is the main complication. An MRI or Ultrasound scan can determine the extent of your injury and diagnosis.
How to prevent Achilles Tendonitis
- Perform stretching exercises to strengthen your feet muscles and tendons
- Always warm up before beginning an exercise or training session
- Increase the intensity of exercises gradually
- Alternate between high- and low-impact exercises
- Always wear comfortable shoes that fit well and replace them once they are worn
- If required use supports or cushioning pads inside your shoes
- Use the right equipment
The National Centre for Health Statistics has estimated that approximately 54% of the adult population experiences musculoskeletal pain. Studies have shown that low-frequency ultrasound treatment has had positive results for a variety of indications, including tendon injuries and short-term pain relief.
A breakthrough treatment for Achilles Tendonitis
PainShield is an ultrasound device, consisting of a reusable driver unit and a disposable patch, which contains our proprietary therapeutic transducer. It delivers a localised ultrasound effect to treat pain and induce soft tissue healing in a targeted area, while keeping the level of ultrasound energy at a safe and consistent level of 0.4 watts. We believe that PainShield is the smallest and most portable therapeutic ultrasound device on the market and the only product in which the ultrasound transducer is integrated in a therapeutic disposable application patch.
PainShield is able to deliver ultrasound therapy without being located in a health care facility or clinic because it is portable, due to it being lightweight and battery operated. Because it is patch based and easy to apply, PainShield does not require medical personnel to apply ultrasound therapy to the patient. The patient benefits include ease of application and use, faster recovery time, high compliance, and increased safety and efficacy over existing devices that rely on higher-frequency ultrasound.