What is Achilles tendinitis?
In Frisco, we have an active population and with that carries the risk of injury. One of the more common injuries foot doctors see is Achilles tendinitis. The Achilles tendon is the tendon in the back of the lower leg that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. This tendon is the strongest and largest tendon in our bodies. This tendon is imperative to walking, jumping, and running. When the tendon becomes inflamed, we start to develop Achilles tendinitis. The tendon can become inflamed at the insertion on the heel bone or higher up in the lower leg. When the tendon becomes inflamed at the insertion, there is sometimes a bony prominence called a Haglund’s deformity as well. We will discuss this in a future blog.
Symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include:
- Soreness in the back of the heel or lower leg
- Swelling in the back of the ankle or lower leg
- Pain that is worse with running, jumping, or pushing off from the affected foot
- Some people may feel a “knot” in the Achilles tendon.
What are the causes of Achilles tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis is often caused by overuse of the tendon. This is commonly seen in athlete’s that quickly increase their level of exercise without proper training. We often see Achilles tendinitis in weekend warriors, meaning those who may not be active regularly during the week but like to engage in more strenuous activities on the weekend. Achilles tendinitis can also be caused by tightness in calf muscles and lack of proper stretching. There are risk factors for Achilles tendinitis, including age and obesity. Achilles tendinitis is also more commonly seen in men.
How do you treat Achilles tendinitis?
- Stretches (which your local Frisco podiatrist can demonstrate and provide information on)
- Orthotics/Custom Inserts
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). This means taking time off from exercise.
- Wearing supportive gym shoes with heel lifts
- Physical therapy
- Immobilization in a CAM walker boot if more severe
- Surgical repair if conservative treatment measures fail
How do I prevent Achilles tendinitis?
- Make sure to stretch before exercise
- Alternate the types of exercise
- Slowly increase the intensity and amount of exercise
- Wear orthotics designed to alleviate strain on the Achilles tendon
If you are having pain at the area of your Achilles tendon in Frisco, Little Elm, or Plano click HERE to make an appointment with your local foot doctors, Dr. Heredia or Dr. Zellers, at Star Foot & Ankle Specialists.