Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is a condition that occurs when the large tendon that runs down the back of your lower leg gets irritated and inflamed. 

The body’s largest tendon is the Achilles tendon. It connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and is used when walking, running, climbing stairs, jumping, and standing on your toes. The Achilles tendon can meet a lot of stress from running and jumping, and as a result, it becomes prone to tendinitis. 

Under the supervision of your doctor, most cases of Achilles can be treated with relatively simple at-home care. Achilles tendon tears may necessitate surgical treatment in more challenging situations.

What is Achilles Tendinitis?

Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon. Swelling, heel pain, and irritation are common symptoms of inflammation which is the body’s normal response to damage or disease. 

Depending on which section of the Achilles tendon is inflamed, there are two forms of Achilles tendinitis. 

  • Noninsertional Achilles tendinitis: This is characterized by tiny tears in the fibers of the middle region of the tendon. This type is more common in active young adults. 
  • Insertional Achilles tendinitis: This condition affects the lower region of your Achilles tendon, where it connects to your heel bone. It can affect persons of any age, including those who do not engage in physical activity.

What Are The Causes Of Achilles Tendinitis?

A specific injury doesn’t usually cause Achilles tendinitis. Repetitive stress on the tendon causes the condition. This usually occurs when we push our body to do too many movements too quickly. But other variables can increase the risk of tendinitis, such as: 

  • Spur on the bone – The Achilles tendon joins to the heel bone; extra bone growth might rub against the tendon, causing pain.
  • Exercising without first warming up. 
  • Calf muscles getting strained as a result of frequent movements. 
  • Performing sports that require quick stops and changes of direction, such as tennis. 
  • Too much distance, intensity, or steep jogging. 
  • High physical exertion without giving your body time to adjust. 
  • Wearing poorly-fitting or old footwear. 
  • Wearing high heels regularly or for extended periods. 

How To Avoid Achilles Tendinitis

You can lower your risk of getting Achilles tendonitis by taking various measures such as, 

  • To help relieve tension in the Achilles tendon, the shoes you wear when exercising should provide appropriate cushioning for your heel and have sturdy arch support. Replacing your worn-out shoes is a good idea. Try arch supports in both shoes if your shoes are in good condition but don’t support your feet. 
  • To preserve flexibility, stretch your calf muscles and Achilles tendon in the morning, before exercise, and after activity. This is very crucial to avoid Achilles tendonitis recurrence. 
  • Cross-training is also a good treatment for Achilles pain. As an alternate for high-impact sports like running and jumping, try low-impact activities like cycling and swimming.
  • Gradually increase your degree of activity. Start cautiously and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts if you’re new to exercising.

How is Achilles Tendinitis treated?

A medical history and physical examination are required to diagnose Achilles tendon pain. In addition, your healthcare provider will inquire about your symptoms. They may request imaging studies to look for tendon damage. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound is the most common option.

Conservative therapies for Achilles tendinitis are frequently sufficient to offer maximum comfort and healing. A treatment plan will be offered after a thorough examination and identification of the underlying causes of the problem. The following are examples of elements that could be included in such a strategy: 

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 
  • Laser therapy can help to relieve discomfort and speed up the healing process. 
  • Stretches and exercises to strengthen the tendon and relieve strain on the surrounding tissues (like the calf muscles). 
  • Changing your footwear during activities to be more accommodating. 
  • Night splints, walking boots, and other types of equipment can help you recover faster.

woman on her couch holding her achilles in pain

Foot and Ankle Care for the Entire Family

If you or a loved one is suffering from Achilles tendon pain, know that you are not alone. It’s infuriating, but it’s all too common. The good news is that most people improve with adequate treatment. 

It is critical to seek treatment for Achilles tendonitis or a torn tendon as soon as possible. You’ll have a far higher chance of recovering quickly when you carefully follow your doctor’s advice.

Schedule an appointment with Burlington County Foot & Ankle Associates today. Give us a call today at (609) 714-0052, or fill out our online contact form and get all your questions about Achilles tendonitis answered.

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