The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and is used when you walk, run, climb stairs, jump, and stand on your tiptoes. Given how important this tendon is to everyday movements and function, it’s important that any pain or discomfort is addressed immediately.
What is Achilles Tendonitis?
One of the most common conditions that occur is Achilles tendonitis, which is when the large tendon that runs down the back of your lower leg becomes irritated and inflamed.
Achilles Tendonitis Symptoms
Achilles tendonitis is usually accompanied by a variety of symptoms such as:
Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon in the morning
Pain along the tendon or back of the heel that worsens with activity
Severe pain the day after exercising
Thickening of the tendon
Bone spur (insertional tendinitis)
Swelling that is present all the time and gets worse throughout the day with activity
Achilles Tendonitis Causes
Most people who have Achilles tendonitis are either runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs, or middle-aged people who occasionally play sports. However, tight calf muscles or bone spurs can also be the cause.
Treatment and Prevention
While it’s not possible to entirely prevent someone from getting Achilles tendonitis, there are a few things you can do to lower your risk.
Gradual increase in activity. Instead of rapidly increasing your intensity and duration of your workouts you should ease into it. This is especially important for runners.
Wear proper shoes. The shoes you wear should be specific to each activity you partake in. Proper shoes prevent putting extra strain on your feet and ankles where there shouldn’t be. It can also help prevent putting extra tension on the Achilles tendon.
Stretch daily. Stretching should be a daily task that benefits your body as a whole. Stretching prevents injuries and pain that can often be accompanied by periods of inactivity.
Strengthen your calf muscles. Strong calf muscles help the calf and Achilles tendon handle stress from everyday activities and exercise.
Tendinitis usually responds well to self-care measures. But if your signs and symptoms are severe or persistent, your doctor might suggest other treatment options. If after several months of conservative treatment methods it might be time to consider surgery to fix the torn Achilles tendon.
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your Achilles tendon, reach out to us to schedule an appointment so we can get you treated right away.