Achilles' tendon injuries

The Achilles' tendon is the largest tendon in the body, stretching from the bones of the heel to the calf muscle. You can feel it - a band of tissue at the back of your ankle and above your heel.  The tendon is stretched during "pushing off" exercise such as walking and running.

Tendons heal slowly because blood supply to them is generally poor. So activity to improve blood supply will help the tendon healing process.


Until recently Achilles tendinopathy was referred to as Achilles tendonitis. However, research has found that this type of injury does not involve inflammation and is most likely due to a series of micro tears (or tendinosis) that weaken the tendon.

There are a number of possible causes leading to an excessive loading on the Achilles, including:

  • A sudden increase in the intensity, frequency and duration of activity

  • Inadequate warm up, stretching and cool down or a decrease in recovery time

  • Wearing inadequate or incorrect footwear

  • Running on hard or uneven surfaces, or change of surface

  • Poor muscle flexibility (e.g. tight calf muscles, weak calf muscles)

  • Decreased joint range of motion (e.g. stiff ankle joint)

Tendon tear

An Achilles tendon rupture is a complete or partial tear that occurs when the tendon is stretched beyond its capacity.  Forceful jumping or pivoting, or sudden accelerations of running, can overstretch the tendon and cause a tear.  An injury to the tendon can also result from falling or tripping.

Two less common Achilles injuries are Peri tendonitis - inflammation of the tendon sheath, and Bursitis - inflammation of the bursa.

SportsMed TENS therapy for Achilles’ tendon injuries

After a diagnosis of Achilles’ tendinopathy, tendon tear, bursitis or peri-tendonitis your injury management plan should include treatment as often as possible.

SportsMed is the TENS, ECS and EMS machine we suggest to aid repair of an Achilles' tendon injury.

SportsMed electrotherapy can be used everyday - between visits to the clinic - for drug-free, on-demand pain relief. It is also designed and programmed to aid circulation, reduce inflammation, hasten healing and help with calf muscle strengthening.

User guide

Please read the User Guide which comes with your TENS unit

Pad placement - Achilles’ tendon injuries

Pain relief - place pads where they are comfortable and most effective for pain relief

Injury healing - pads are placed at the location of the injury

Muscle rehabilitation - the generic advice is to place one pad at the top of the muscle and the second pad one-third along the length of the muscle you wish to strengthen. You may need to consult your physiotherapist for specific guidance on which muscles to target.

tendon healing

tendon healing

calf muscle rehabilitation

calf muscle rehabilitation


If you have any questions please phone our office for further advice.