Achilles problems are amongst the most common issues that we deal with every day - especially with clients who are regular runners or walkers.
In many cases (like the one shown in the video above), poor footwear or a change of footwear to a new design, is the cause. Trigger points form to weaken muscles of the calf in particular, creating a chain effect and ultimately additional trigger points and a reaction in the achilles.
Trigger Point Treatment Protocol
Trigger point therapy can be wonderfully effective for treating achilles issues. Here we demonstrate the most commonly used NAT trigger point protocols for treating achilles tendinitis.
Bear in mind that we're only showing brief highlights of the treatment process and do not attempt to perform these trigger point techniques unless they fall within your professional scope of practice.
Achilles tendinitis is typically associated with trigger points in the gastrocnemius, soleus, and plantaris muscles.
If you are receiving any form of trigger point therapy, either self-help or with a therapist, it is advisable to stretch on the hour, every hour, on the day of the treatment and then three times per day thereafter for a few weeks to several months. Below you'll find a couple of useful self help techniques.
Stand upright and lean against a wall. Place one foot as far from the wall as is comfortable and make sure that both toes are facing forward and your heel is on the ground. Keep your back leg straight and lean towards the wall.
This stretch can put a lot of pressure on the Achilles tendon. Ease into this stretch by slowly lowering your heel in a carefully controlled manner.
Muscles being stretched
Primary muscle: Gastrocnemius.
Secondary muscles: Tibialis posterior. Flexor hallucis longus. Flexor digitorum longus. Peroneus longus and brevis. Plantaris.
Injury where stretch may be useful
Calf strain. Achilles tendon strain. Achilles tendonitis. Medial tibial pain syndrome (shin splints).
General self help tips
There are many reasons why you might have trigger points, so it is important to consider your trigger point pain in the context of the rest of your body.
It must be stressed that the techniques offered on this page are not a substitute for therapy from a qualified practitioner; although aches and pains from trigger points are common, there can sometimes be an underlying pathology. It is advisable to always seek a proper diagnosis from a qualified medical practitioner or suitably qualified manual therapist.
Gastrocnemius - Common Trigger Point Sites
Soleus - Common Trigger Point Sites
Self help trigger point massage
This technique involves locating the heart of the trigger/tender point. When this is compressed it may well trigger a specific referred pain map (preferably reproducing your symptoms). This technique involves applying direct, gentle and sustained pressure to the point, as follows:
1. Identify the tender/trigger point you wish to work on.
2. Place the host muscle in a comfortable position, where it is relaxed and can undergo full stretch.
3. Apply gentle, gradually increasing pressure to the tender point until you feel resistance. This should be experienced as discomfort and not as pain.
4. Apply sustained pressure until you feel the tender point yield and soften. This can take from a few seconds to several minutes.
5. Steps 3-4 can be repeated, gradually increasing the pressure on the tender/trigger point until it has fully yielded.
6. To achieve a better result, you can try to change the direction of pressure during these repetitions.
Recommended Starter Packs:
This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell.
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