I was examined by two doctors: the specialist and a resident. They were sympathetic, if slightly baffled when I had to admit that I've been having this on-going problem with my achilles for close to 10 years, without ever seeking more expert medical attention than just what my GP and physiotherapists could provide (except for once at the very beginning, when I went to see a colleague of his who wasn't too interested). I'm at a loss to explain it myself, except that sometimes you don't think your complaints are being taken seriously enough for you to pursue the matter. You just carry on as best you can; so what if you can't run like a gazelle? The only reason I've insisted on being referred this time is that after years of limping -and disguising that limp-, I'm now starting to feel the effects in my other leg, in my right knee and hip, that have had to take the strain all these years.
Anyway, these two doctors did take me seriously, did spot the problems right away, and have decided on a course of treatment -- consisting of more exercises, to be repeated twice daily, every day of the week and no slacking ;-)! Furthermore, I was quite impressed that the specialist immediately recognised that not only did I have a problem with my achilles, but also with my ankle; and he explained that the trauma to my ankle and its subsequent instability had probably further exacerbated the problem with my tendon. He even hazarded a guess that a basic defect in the ankle ligaments had been a contributing factor to the initial inflammation.
For now though, I have to do the exercises he's prescribed, and we will re-evaluate in 6 weeks. He thinks they may bring functionality back up to 70%, but he's warned me that they may be hard to keep up with because they're extremely painful. He's not wrong there. Owwie!