Acupuncture News

Achilles Tendinitis – Acupuncture is More than just Pain Treatment

What is Achilles Tendinitis?

Warmer weather is here and people are adding more outdoor activities to their exercise regimen. As a result, I am seeing several patients with Achilles tendinitis.  It is common for runners and weekend athletes to injure their Achilles tendon. The largest tendon in your body, it connects your calf muscle to your heel bones, enabling activities such as walking, running and jumping. Those playing basketball or other high impact, repetition sports are susceptible to this injury. Like Tennis Elbow, Achilles tendinitis is often the result of strain on tendons that results in pain and limited use. Heel spurs and taut calf muscles are among the other causative factors.  

Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis

One of the telltale signs of Achilles tendinitis is pain along the back of the tendon, usually close to the heel. Your ankle may also have limited mobility and hear a crack or pop due to scar tissue buildup. Swelling and redness may also occur.

Acupuncture is an Effective Tendinitis Treatment Option

Even though most cases of Achilles tendinitis improve over time with preventative lifestyle changes and limitations of activities, a substantial number require treatment and therapy.  Fortunately, studies have shown acupuncture is a valuable treatment solution. It can:

  • Strengthen the body and repair damage to the tendons
  • Promote a powerful anti-inflammatory response
  • Increase circulation to the tendon and surrounding tissue   
  • Encourage a healing response as opposed to simply suppressing the symptoms of tendinitis

Physicians and sports medicine specialists commonly recommend acupuncture as part of their standard treatment protocol for patients with Achilles tendinitis.  We are seeing more professional athletes using acupuncture as a treatment and preventative therapy to avoid tendon reinjury.

Exercises for Achilles Tendinitis

Along with acupuncture, adding exercises can expedite the recovery process and strengthen your muscles and tendons. Try these out as part of your regimen:

  • Runner’s stretch
  • Floor stretch
  • Toe to wall stretch
  • Heel lifts

These exercises can help relieve stress on the Achilles tendon and promote healing. Activating the calf muscle by stretching will also address the problem because tight calves can lead to Achilles injuries. Be careful that you do each one properly and stop if you experience any pain.

How to Treat Achilles Tendonitis with Acupuncture

When I first meet with a patient suffering from Achilles tendinitis, I assess the condition to determine if acupuncture is an appropriate treatment option. The next step is initiating a trial to discern if the affected area responds to acupuncture. When it does, the prognosis is good and most patients recover quickly. Evidence has been shown in a recent study published by the Healthcare Medicine Institute that two patients experienced full recovery with acupuncture treatment.

Tendinitis can occur with anyone, but those who are most active are particularly at risk. The pain and immobility of your foot and ankle can leave you frustrated and unable to participate in your normal activities. Acupuncture is an effective means of treatment to get you back on your feet (literally).

To get started, call The Acupuncture Clinic at (803) 256-1000 to set up a time for a free consultation. We’ll assess if acupuncture will help you with your Achilles tendinitis and develop a treatment plan.