Do I Need to See a Biomechanical Podiatrist? - Episode 2

Biomechanical podiatrist Michael Thompson is back with the second episode of his series on foot, ankle, knee, hip or lower back pain.

Episode 2: Waging War on Heel Pain – Achilles Tendinopathy

England and Wales have progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup since my first Episode in this series on foot pain. How vital will Anthony Watson’s recovery from a serious Achilles tendon injury be to the England dreams of defeating New Zealand? This episode I look at the Achilles tendon in more detail and wish both teams every success – how wonderful it would be to see a Northern Hemisphere final!

Achilles tendinitis, Achilles tendinopathy, foot pain, ankle pain

Heel pain at the back of the Foot

The most common cause of this type of pain is Achilles tendinitis/tendinopathy. This is an overloading of the tendon that attaches your calf to your heel. You can experience pain and swelling in the tendon or at its insertion into the heel. Heel spurs can also be the cause of such pain but overall the body is showing an overloading of this area.

How to treat:

  • You need to get flexible in your calf, hamstring and plantar fascia;
  • You need to get strong in your foot and calf;
  • Wear supportive / cushioning footwear as much as possible;
  • You might consider offloading the area by an orthotic to reduce stress on the back of your heel cause by the heel moving in too much.

If the application of ice soon after the event followed by rest for 72 hours does not mitigate the pain then you should contact a professional. Your podiatrist, a physiotherapist or doctor should be able to help. And further treatments may include anything from a tailored exercise programme, to custom orthotics, acupuncture, shockwave therapy, and in some cases injection therapy or surgery. Be proactive in seeking help. Watson was unlucky and needed 2 operations for a ruptured tendon. “My aim is to be faster and stronger than before I suffered the injury" he said in March this year. Back on top form, might he be the one to find the Achilles heel of the All Blacks?  We hope so!

About Michael: 

Michael graduated in 2001 with an honours degree in Podiatry from Glasgow Caledonian University. Starting his career in York he developed a great interest in the biomechanical aspect of podiatry. Moving to Australia for 18 months allowed further education and development of his biomechanical skills. For the last 11 years he has worked as the lead biomechanical podiatrist in North Somerset with the Musculoskeletal Service. 

Please do get in touch with Michael via or email him at Bristol Physio. 

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