Your Achilles tendon attaches your calf muscles to your heel bone, enabling you to walk, run and jump. If you are an athlete or highly physically active, your Achilles tendon is subjected to high force loads that may cause tissue damage and remodeling over time.
In the early acute stages, Achilles damage may manifest as mild to moderate pain and inflammation, a condition referred to as tendinitis. However, if left untreated, Achilles tendinitis may progress to tendinosis, a chronic degenerative condition often related to overuse that can become debilitating over time.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendinosis May Include:
- pain and tightness in the tendon that gets progressively worse
- difficulty climbing stairs or running
- pain after sitting for long periods or after sleeping
- a bump either in the tendon or right behind the heel bone
- irritation from shoes rubbing against the bump
- less pain while wearing a shoe with a slight heel
- increased tendon thickness
- pain on initiating activity
Achilles tendinosis pain is not caused by inflammation but by neurovascular ingrowth that leads to soft tissue remodeling. Physical therapy treatment strategies in Brooklyn focus on bringing new life to the tendon to encourage new tissue growth and reorganization.
The Graston Technique
The Graston technique is a form of instrument-assisted soft tissue manipulation that uses a gentle massage and scraping approach to help the practitioner identify areas of restriction and break up scar tissue. Scar tissue is thick dense tissue that results from injury or trauma. Scar tissue can limit your joint range of motion and restrict functional movement. Graston therapy is geared to alleviating pain and restoring function in the damaged area.
Goals of the Graston Technique:
- Break down scar tissue in the tendon fascia
- Stretch connective tissue to rearrange the structure of muscle, fascia, tendons, and ligaments
- Promote a favorable healing environment for the injured soft tissue
The Graston technique is often used in conjunction with eccentric exercise and stretching to promote tissue remodeling and healing.
How It Works
The Graston Technique uses specialized stainless steel instruments that the practitioner rakes over your body in search of areas of restriction. The instrument “catches” on fibrotic tissue and breaks up scar tissue so it can be absorbed by the body. The idea is to break down the collagen cross-links of scar tissue and realign them with proper stretching and strengthening.
To stimulate new growth, fibroblasts within the tissue must be activated. Fibroblasts serve many functions, including the secretion of collagen and other elements of the extracellular matrix. Fibroblasts change in response to load, and the goal of the Graston Technique is to affect them in a way that encourages them to lay down collagen in an organized manner.
Graston Technique at Physical Therapy Brooklyn
If you are suffering from Achilles tendinopathy, relief is nearby at Back to Health, providing the best physical therapy in Brooklyn. Visit one of our convenient neighborhood clinics to see if you can benefit from the Graston technique. Our professional friendly staff will work with you to eliminate your Achilles tendon pain and restore your foot and ankle to full function.