The Achilles tendon is one of the longest tendons in the body. This strong, large band of tissue connects the large calf muscles to the calcaneus bone (large heel bone) in the foot. It is located down the back of the lower leg. The Achilles tendon assists walking by helping to raise the heel off the ground.
What Is Achilles Tendonitis?
The Achilles tendon is being used when you jump, walk, run, and stand on the balls of your feet, therefore it’s in use every foot movement you make. Continuous, intense physical activity, like running, jumping and quick footstep movements (like in tennis) can cause irritation of the tendon resulting in painful inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Although Achilles tendonitis is often linked to physically activities, it can also affect sedentary individuals. It is the inflammation that known as Achilles tendonitis.
What are the symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis?
A few symptoms of Achilles tendonitis is feeling pain and swelling in the back of your heel as you walk and or run, tightness in calf muscles and or limited range of motion when you flex your foot.
What causes Achilles Tendonitis?
Excessive exercise, walking and biomechanical dysfunctions in the gait are common causes of Achilles tendonitis. This is particularly true for athletes. However, this aliments can also be diagnosed in Rheumatoid arthritis patients, infections and are all correlated with tendonitis. Unfortunately, in many cases Achilles Tendonitis can be a very slow process in healing due to the lack of blood innervation to the tendon. Diligent treatment is necessary for optimal results or reoccurrences.
Treating Achilles Tendonitis
Acute Achilles tendonitis can often start to be treated at home using simple strategies. However, if home treatment doesn’t work, it’s important to see a doctor. If your tendonitis gets worse, your tendon can tear.
There’s a variety of treatments available and seems to be no universal set of treatment protocols for Achilles tendonitis. Please consult your physician, however some suggestions might be:
- reducing your physical activity
- stretching and strengthening the calf muscles
- switching to a less strenuous sport
- icing the area after activities or when in pain
- raising your foot to decrease swelling (slight lift in footwear)
- wearing a brace or compressive elastic bandage to prevent heel movement
- foot supports (custom or customized) to reduce foot movement and provide stability
- going to physical therapy
- kinesiotaping or athletic taping
- Check that your footwear has proper cushioning, arch support for your foot type and that your footwear are not worn out
- Reducing the heel height of your shoes allows the tendon stretch.
- deep friction massage
- low-level laser therapy or shockwave therapy
We can assist with a treatment plan based on your degree of symptoms that suits your lifestyle and needs, using one or a combination of the above interventions.
Sometimes in severe cases, if conservative treatments are not effective, surgery may be necessary to repair the Achilles tendon. If the condition intensifies and is left untreated, there’s a greater risk of an Achilles rupture, which requires a surgical intervention.
The use of custom orthotics, footwear, bracing, icing, Kinesiotaping and temporary lifts are frequently used Pedorthic methods used for the treatment of Achilles Tendonitis.