Case Study: A Tennis Player with an Achilles Injury

About the Patient

Orthotic Gaitscan Assessment & Diagnosis

Delphine was a 42 year old top level club tennis player who also competed internationally in the veterans tennis circuit. When she came to see me she was suffering from an inflamed Achilles tendon, very tight calf muscles and inflamed ‘shin splints.’ In other words she was someone who pushed her body hard on the tennis court and her leg muscles were screaming for help. Her Achilles had been inflamed from time to time over the past 18 months and she wanted to know how to manage the injury better but without being told to stop playing sports.

Assessment & Diagnosis

When a patient comes to me with a number of chronic weight bearing injuries I always take an overall look at the patient looking at lower back, pelvis and all lower limb muscles in order to get to the root of the injury and see how I can help best. I will also include a gait analysis to examine foot function and pressure timing sequences and find out where the biomechanics are breaking down.

Analysis of Delphine’s gait using the Gaitscan system revealed that she did in fact have abnormal foot function caused by a collapse of her arches on walking. This was causing her to overuse her lower leg muscles especially the Achilles tendon.

Treatment Given

The treatment plan for Delphine was to prescribe custom-made orthotics to improve her foot function and lower limb biomechanics. I advised that she would need sports orthotics for her tennis shoes and dress orthotics for her office day job. This way she could wear her orthotics at least 80% time – which I had recommended.

We also did some local treatment to the Achilles, calf and lower leg to improve the muscle condition and aid recovery. I also gave Delphine stretching exercises for the calf muscles and strengthening exercises for the Achilles tendon.

Road to Recovery

Delphine made good improvements after a few weeks of treatment and was back playing tennis again. For the long term management of her lower legs we discussed stretching more using a foam roller, using yoga to keep flexible and to switch some tennis sessions to either swimming or cycling for less impact to the body.

I do a lot of different sports such as tennis, golf, triathlon, skiing on a very regular basis and I have been working with Gill for more than 5 years now. She has helped me to overcome varied injuries such as achilles problems, painful knees, sore back necks and injured shoulders! Her treatments have been of great help to me and have been a key enabler to staying fit.