Acupuncture for Achilles Pain


The Achilles tendon in the back of the leg connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is the largest and strongest tendon in the body and allows us to raise our heels and push with our toes to walk, run and jump. It is under a lot of stress and pressure every day and is susceptible to damage.

Acupuncture can reduce the pain and swelling caused by damage to the Achilles tendon and it also increases the blood circulation and qi (energy) flowing to the tendon, allowing your body to heal itself faster.

The term ‘Achilles heel’ is used to describe a weakness or vulnerability in an otherwise strong person which can lead to their downfall. In Greek mythology, Achilles was a mighty warrior of the Trojan War. When he was a child his mother dipped him in the waters of the River Styx making him all but immortal, with only his heel remaining vulnerable where she had held him. He died in battle after being shot with an arrow in the heel. Acupuncture needles are much more beneficial!

Achilles tendonitis is a repetitive stress injury that occurs over time from repeated stress and pressure on the Achilles tendon.  It often happens when we push our body to do too much, too quickly, such as when running or playing high impact sports.  The tendon becomes irritated and inflamed and there is usually a gradual onset of pain and discomfort.  The pain is worse after periods of inactivity such as first thing in the morning or after sitting for a while. There are two types of Achilles tendonitis. Small tears can occur in the middle of the tendon during sports activities, or small tears and bone spurs can occur in the lower part of the tendon where it meets the heel bone in active or inactive people. Rest and gentle exercise that does not put too much stress on the Achilles tendon is often recommended. Recovery can take several weeks.

Achilles tendonitis causes pain at the back of the heel and pain tends to get worse with activity. In contrast, plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the plantar fascia which is the band of tissue on the sole of your foot connecting the heel bone to the toes) causes pain on the bottom of the heel which tends to get better with activity.

An Achilles rupture is when the tendon tears suddenly due to being overstretched. Usually a popping or snapping sound is heard and you feel a sudden, sharp and severe pain in the back of your leg, which eventually settles into a dull ache. You may have difficulty walking or not be able to put your full weight on the affected leg or stand on tip toes. Immediate medical attention should be sought and surgery may be required. Recovery can take several months.

Acupuncture for pain management helps your body to feel better which in turn uplifts your mind and spirit bringing a greater balance to your enjoyment of life. Book a treatment with Kathy Hitchens at Balancing Acupuncture in Truro.