Skip to main content

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles Tendonitis:
Symptoms, Pain Management and Recovery

Achilles Tendonitis and other pain associated with the Achilles tendon are the most frequently reported overuse type injury. The gastrocnemius and the soleus muscle make up the calf complex at the back of the lower leg and together create the Achilles tendon that attaches to the back of the heel bone, the calcaneus.

Issues often arise with the sudden increase of repetitive activities. The frequency of these activities puts a stress on the Achilles tendon, stemming from the tendons inability to properly recover between activity time, resulting in Achilles tendon pain. 

Injuries to the Achilles occur most often between those that are 30-50 years old, and men seem to develop issues more often than women. Injuries to the Achilles tendon are often related to chronic issues that stem from degenerative changes to the tendon typically in the mid region of the Achilles tendon.

What Are The Common Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis?

  • Point tenderness along the Achilles, typically in the mid region or at the insertion point

  • Pain and stiffness during activities that increase the demand on the Achilles tendon

  • Pain and stiffness may temporarily decrease as Achilles tendon “warms up” but then return as activities continue

  • Typical onset of symptoms is gradual, but can experience a more sudden onset after an increased or new level or activity

  • Pain may also be present after being stationary for a longer period of time or in the morning as you take your first few steps

What Causes Achilles Tendonitis?

  • Decreased ankle dorsiflexion range of motion, bending the ankle up

  • Decreased plantar flexion strength, pointing the foot downward

  • Increased pronation or flattening of the arch of the foot

  • Elevated BMI

  • Training errors or overuse/under recovery type issues

How Can Physical Therapy Help My Achilles Tendonitis?

Your physical therapist will determine the extent of injury to the achilles tendon and will create a treatment path that will reduce pain and increase strength to the area to prevent reinjury. 

Progression of movement is quality based- as you demonstrate greater competency and capacity to do the movements they need to be progressively more challenging.

A physical therapist may recommend different interventions depending on where you are in the recovery process and the extent of the injury including: 

  • Eccentric (slow lowering) loading to the Achilles tendon/calf complex

  • Short term use of orthotics

  • Manual therapy to mobilize stiffness in the ankle/foot complex and other related tissues

  • Strengthening for specific weakness of the ankle/foot complex as noted during examination

  • Progressive return to activities with graded exposure

  • Specific exercises to hips, core, and lower extremities as indicated based upon examination findings

Every individual and every Achilles tendon issue is very unique. The treatment suggestions listed above include several options to try and see how they may improve your situation. 

In addition, a thorough evaluation by a physical therapist can help identify specific features about your condition and how to best manage them. Understanding as much as possible about your current condition is a very important aspect of the recovery process and will empower you to take the necessary steps to get back to your normal activities with as little discomfort as possible.


Jessica Jones

Physical Therapist

Jessica recently moved to Seattle from Boston, MA and is excited to join the Therapydia team. Her treatment experience includes orthopedics, sports medicine, pediatrics, and vestibular therapy. Jessica received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University in Boston, MA in 2016. She has completed the Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency at Boston Children’s Hospital and is in the process of completing a Comprehensive Vestibular Rehabilitation certification. Jessica believes in empowering and inspiring patients to take control of their health through education, movement, and exercise. She enjoys treating patients of all ages and levels while utilizing soft tissue techniques, neuromuscular re-education, balance training as well as therapeutic exercise. In her free time, Jessica enjoys yoga, dancing, kayaking, and hiking with her dog!


Move Better with Physical Therapy

Same-day or next-day appointments are available for new patients.

"*" indicates required fields

Are you an existing patient or new patient?*

Appointment Preferences

Day of the week
What days are you free to come in?
Time of Day
What times work best for you?
Select which option applies