Physical Therapy for Achilles Tendonitis

I've been suffering from progressively worsening achilles tendonitis since sometime around 2002. In 2004, I was fitted for orthotics (since I over-pronate) and it made things better, but I didn't heal fully. In late 2006/early 2007 I started getting worse and decided to stop fencing competitively, not practice as much, and let things heal. Achilles tendonitis is an over-use injury, so rest seemed to be the best idea.

However, I while the day-to-day pain went away, any activity would cause the problem to flare up again. After an appointment with my new doctor (since my previous one retired), I'm now going to a physical therapist to try to help my achilles tendonitis (which wasn't healing by just resting).

So far, the results are really good. On the first day, I had cortisone delivered via therapeutic ultrasound and electrical stimulation on both tendons.

The second visit started with some warm-up and then some exercises. Since the previous visit had made me fairly sore, we skipped the electrical stimulation and just did the ultrasound treatment.

On the third visit, we did some exercises, noted that the swelling in my tendons had been dramatically reduced, and tried iontophoresis. Which was what my new doctor had originally recommended (he also advised me to get some night splints, since they are fairly cheap and help a good portion of the time. I ordered a pair of Strassburg Socks after being unable to find something similar locally).

Today was visit 4. The night previously, I had a fencing lesson which went fairly well (and I was able to do a moderate level of activity which didn't result in lots of pain the next morning). Again, we noted the the swelling had gone down (even more) in my tendons and the physical therapist noted that they felt looser. Since the iontophoresis had resulted in a little pain/discomfort, we decided to just do the ultrasound treatment after the exercises. We added a couple of new exercises to the routine this time.

That brings things up to date. My tendons currently feel much better than they have in the past two years, which is pretty exciting.



Have you tried those heel springs from Portal?

I don't think the IOC would approve, although it would probably be fun.

I had that ultrasonic cortisone and electro treatment for my hip back in the day. I found that it was nice while it was being done, but once they stopped it went right back to where it was.

I've been having problems with my back recently - are we just getting old?

I'm hoping that the exercises they are having me do (that the treatment lets me do without having total agony) will at least help a bit.

We're going to stop the ultrasound treatment on my right foot since it seems to be mostly better and see what happens.

And yes, we are getting old :-\

Oh well.

Hey, when you developed tendonitis... how did you feel mentally as you were enduring the pain? I have it and I feel like I lost everything ability wise...

I think that for many people the constant pain can cause depression.

For me, I was mostly just slowed down (I couldn't really fence like I wanted to, and any physical activity where I was on my feet for any length of time would cause a lot of pain later - so I was often disinclined to do it).

As an update, the physical therapy wasn't able to completely 'cure' me, but my doctor has prescribed Voltaren gel for me which has been working great. I use a pea-sized amount once a day on each tendon (and I continue to do the physical therapy exercises and ice my tendons after any extended activity).

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