What is Achillodynia Pain Syndrome?
The Achilles tendon is the strongest and thickest tendon in the human body, with a length of 20 to 25 cm and a width of about 5 cm. It connects our calf muscle to the heel bone in the lower ankle. When the calf muscles flex, the tendon transfers the power from the lower leg to the heel. This mechanism allows us to stand on our feet and perform complex movements.
Achillodynia Pain Syndrome
Achillodynia (Dynie = pain) is the pain syndrome affecting the Achilles tendon and its surrounding tissues. Excessive strain on the joint is the best indicator of Achillodynia, which can affect one or both legs.
As a result of overloading or stress, pain in the tendon may lead to restricted mobility in the affected leg. Disease or injury of the Achilles tendon may have major impacts, for example, rupturing or overloading might result in problems relating to daily activities like walking, jumping, running and playing sports.
How to diagnose Achillodynia pain?
Signs and symptoms
A patient typically suffers from a wide range of symptoms. Pain and discomfort are fairly common and can severely limit mobility.
A patient may experience repeated episodes of shooting pain when the tendon is even slightly stressed, during daily activities such as raising your toes off the ground or even standing or walking.
Mild Achillodynia Symptoms
- Mild cases of Achillodynia may involve irritation and pain in the lower ankle. There could be increased sensitivity to touch, along with swelling of the Achilles tendon (Edema formation).
- They tend to resolve without treatment over time, however, it may be indicative of a more serious underlying issue.
Chronic Achillodynia Symptoms
- Chronic pain can often lead to degeneration and loss of elasticity in the Achilles tendon.
- A serious degenerative condition such as an Achilles tendonosis or Achilles tendon rupture may also develop. Immediate medical treatment is highly recommended.
Factors Increasing Risk of Achillodynia
Certain factors increase the vulnerability to Achillodynia, including:
- Athletic background:
- Athletes between the ages of 35 and 45 years, with an intense training regimen, are especially susceptible to Achillodynia.
- Athletes who train a lot on hard surfaces are at similar risk.
- All athletes are considered to be at high risk of experiencing Achillodynia due to the high impact and nature of sports activities.
- Male athletes are more likely to develop symptoms than Female athletes.
- Previous ligament injuries increase the risk of Achillodynia.
- Incorrect positioning of the feet for prolonged periods of time may lead to increased stress on the tendon and later result in Achillodynia.
Conservative Treatment of Achillodynia Pain
Conservative treatment is often initially recommended for Achillodynia. The effectiveness of treatment greatly depends on how quickly the treatment strategies are implemented.
Achillodynia is a chronic condition of overstressing the Achilles tendon, thus the primary course of treatment involves relieving stress from the ankle joint.
Immobilisation of the Achilles Tendon
Complete immobilisation and relief from all external stress is the first step of recovery in all cases of Achillodynia. The use of medical ankle braces can provide substantial support and pain relief to the Achilles tendon. Suspension of the joint and sufficient recovery time are highly recommended to ensure complete healing.
Rehabilitation and physiotherapy
The Achilles tendon is strong and resilient but lacks blood supply. Prescribed rehabilitation, like hydrotherapy and remedial massage, help boost blood circulation and thus facilitate the healing process. Physiotherapy has been proven to be an effective treatment path. The prescribed exercises can help promote structural stability of the tendon and facilitate recovery.
Painkillers such as Ibuprofen used to help alleviate pain and discomfort in patients. However, painkillers only temporarily treat the pain without addressing the underlying condition. In addition, tolerance may occur where the effectiveness of the drugs decrease as well as other potential side effects.
Medical ankle braces and bandages
Compression is instrumental in the recovery of Achillodynia. The use of medical ankle braces can be useful during the healing process of Achillodynia.
Ankle braces provide targeted compression and support to the achilles joint, helping to boost circulation. This helps in reducing swelling (edema formation) and inflammation of the achilles and ankle joint.
Unlike common neoprene braces, Bauerfeind’s range of ankle braces uses a 3D flat-knit weave and medical grade compression to help promote blood flow, healing and all day comfort.
Prevention and treatment of Achillodynia
Various measures can be taken to prevent the occurrence of Achillodynia. The first step is awareness. It is necessary to understand the limitations of the ankle joint and the Achilles tendon, and the extent of stress that both structures can withstand.
Safe practices, like good running shoes and good athletic form, can make a huge difference in preventing the occurrence of Achillodynia, and even prevent any severe damage to the Achilles tendon.
Complete recovery will take adequate time and will require sufficient rest. Reducing excessive straining movements as well as providing blood circulation to the Achilles tendon will aid the healing process.
Bauerfeind's Achilles Braces for Achillodynia pain
Bauerfeind’s AchilloTrain and AchilloTrain Pro ankle braces can help in treating Achillodynia and provide optimal support to the Achilles tendon for pain relief. Take a look at this video to learn more.
How does Achillotrain ankle brace help in treating mild Achillodynia?
The AchilloTrain ankle brace features an integrated heel cushion and built-in gel support that massages the insertion area of the Achilles tendon and exerts pressure on the surrounding tissues.
The combination of the gel support and medical grade compression helps in promoting blood circulation and assist in healing the ankle joint.
How does Achillotrain Pro ankle brace help treatment of chronic achillodynia?
The AchilloTrain Pro ankle brace is an advanced brace which features a massaging gel support which runs along the entire length of the Achilles tendon.
The brace provides not only support around the tendon, but extends support to the calf muscles.
The AchilloTrain Pro is suitable for care beyond the acute phase of Achillodynia and can be used as a preventive measure for relapse.