The Achilles Tendon Injury Quick FAQ List

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At Joost’s Sports Injury Clinic, Sunshine Coast, we encourage you to embrace Traditional Chinese Medicine, we cannot stress enough the numerous and potential life changing benefits that it may have to offer.  If you have experienced an injury to this part of your body, we hope our “frequently asked questions” list will help you get to the bottom of things the natural, non-surgical way and stop your Achilles tendon become literally your Achilles heel!  

What is the Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles is one of the biggest and strongest tendons in the body. Made up of two muscles, the underlying soleus and the thick outer gastrocnemius, this powerful muscle group controls the actions when pushing off when walking, running and rising onto the balls of your feet. From sprinting, to jumping, or even climbing, the Achilles tendon is what enables you to do it.

What are the symptoms of an Achilles tendon injury?

It starts in the morning when you wake up. Your feet and lower legs feel sore and stiff. The pain gets worse during exercise, but can sometimes dissipate after a while when in a resting position. You really feel the symptoms of an injured Achilles tendon when your lifestyle choices are forced to change. Hiking, running dancing and all manner of other physical activities requiring standing and weight bearing become more than the challenge you bargained for and this type of injury rarely completely heals by itself. If that isn’t bad enough, nodules or lumps might start appearing above the heel in your Achilles tendon. It looks like it’s time to get help.

What could have caused this?

An Achilles tendon injury could be caused by any or a mixture of the following: overuse, stepping up your level of physical activity too quickly, not stretching enough before exercise, obesity, wearing high heels, flat feet aka “fallen arches”, etc.

What treatment is available?

Conventional treatment can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, rest and avoiding activities that will exaggerate the pain. For more serious injuries such as a rupture or tear (same injury, different terminology), surgery may be required but only as a last resort as it can increase the risk of infection and create a whole new set of problems.

How can Traditional Chinese Medicine help?

At Joost’s Sports Injury Clinic, Chinese Sports injury medicine, a form of healing Chinese medicine closely associated with Martial Arts, is used to facilitate recovery from Achilles tendon injuries. While the Achilles tendon is known to heal very slowly because of the amount of pressure and use on a daily basis, following the beliefs of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) one can remove inflammation in the tendon by using techniques that stimulate the flow of energy (‘Qi’) and blood and the removal of dead tissue– thus providing faster healing.

Using the following we can help you get back on your feet faster:

  • Specialised Massage –can help alleviate tension; gentle stretching can also help loosen the tendon. Techniques such as effleurage (a more gentle technique) and petrissage (deep tissue massage) can assist in flushing out waste products, inflammation and keep the surrounding muscles and the tendon soft. When done correctly these techniques can help break down scar tissue, swelling, stimulate blood flow and therefore encourage the body’s self-healing process. Using palpation to first explore the injured area, a ruptured Achilles tendon must be ruled out before going further. Palpation of the tendon will reveal any nodules and anything else peculiar to the injury.
  • Poultices – are made of soft, moist herbal mixtures which are blended to the consistency of a paste and then spread on or between layer of cloth or administered directly to the skin. Poultices can enhance blood flow, relax tense muscles, sooth inflamed tissues and draw out any toxins in affected areas.

Achilles injuries can become a blight in anyone’s life, not just for athletes. We want to help you get pain free and start training, running and living again! At Joost’s Sports Injury Clinic you can learn more about TCM and treatments for Achilles tendon injuries. Don’t let your Achilles injury be your downfall!

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