Today, I want to talk to you about achilles tendinopathy, often referred to as achilles tendinitis. If you’re currently suffering with achilles tendon pain, you’ve probably Googled the hell out of the term already, and found all sorts of resources, like the eccentric heel-drop protocol. I’ll leave a list of helpful resources in the description below this video on our YouTube channel.
That’s why I’m not going make this video a definitive guide to achilles injuries, instead I want to focus on one simple technique you can use at home to encourage the healing process for your achilles.
The soft tissue technique we’ll be using here is called deep friction massage, or frictioning. More accurately we could say we’re applying transverse friction the tendon, as you’ll be working perpendicularly to the direction of the tendon fibres. The aim here is to stimulate the bodies natural healing process in the affected area, by creating a little local disruption in the tissue.
Find yourself a comfortable position to sit with your achilles region in hand and the ankle relaxed. Using your thumb and forefinger, feel up and down the achilles tendon, looking for tender areas.
Once you find a painful area, keep your ankle relaxed and use a pincer grip with the tendon between your thumb and forefinger, to firmly massage back and forth at right angles to the direction of the tendon, rather like you’re delicately strumming a huge guitar string!
You should aim to do this for 10-15 minutes every other day, while your achilles is giving you pain. Begin gently, then every 3 minutes or so, make the massage a little more firm. You will probably find that the achilles becomes a little less sensitive to the action after a few minutes, allowing you to work harder.
Remember, the goal here is to provoke a healing response from your body, so you’ll need a firm approach to the friction technique. At worst though, the pressure you’re applying will feel strongly uncomfortable. It should be bearable.
Try this for two weeks and see how your achilles responds, you should feel the benefits in this time frame.
Of course, if you’re unsure about whether this type of technique would be suitable for your specific injury, be sure to ask your physio.