The Achilles tendon is one of the commonly injured ligaments in our body. This type of injury is caused by tendonitis. It is when the affected part becomes painful due to swelling. Since this springy tissue allows us to walk, run, and jump, it is prone to injury. In some cases, the tendon can be partially torn or completely ruptured.
Although Achilles tendonitis is usually associated with recreational and professional athletes, anyone can be affected by it. People who engage in strenuous walking activities, and diseases like arthritis can cause tendonitis. Below are some of the common causes of tendonitis:
- Running too often
- Improper warm-up and stretching exercises
- Wearing shoes without the proper heel support
- Increase in intensity when performing certain activities (running, jumping or walking)
A person’s leg, ankle, and foot anatomy can also contribute to the injury’s causes. Flat-footed people are prone to tendonitis. Since they lack a normal foot arch, more strain is placed on their foot when performing physical activities.
Signs and symptoms
Pain shooting through the heel is the chief complaint of individuals suffering from tendonitis. It is also more prominent when their heels are at rest. To help you recognize if you are suffering from it, here are its most common signs and symptoms:
- Tenderness of the tendon
- Swelling of the affected area
- Creaks when it is moved or touched
- Lower legs feel weak or stiffer than normal
- Pain at the back of the leg after walking, running or a vigorous exercise regimen
Once you have experienced these symptoms, it’s recommended that you see a physician for a proper diagnosis and pain management. Bartlesville has specialists who can help you. Some of these symptoms are similar to other ailments, and a health professional can determine if you’re suffering from Achilles tendonitis.
Prevention and Treatment
Surgery isn’t the primary treatment for Achilles tendonitis. Resting the injured tendon is the first step to healing it. This allows the inflammation to settle and give it time to heal correctly. Most doctors would suggest a combination of different treatment methods, including:
- Elevating the foot above the heart’s level to reduce swelling.
- Applying ice packs to the affected tendon to alleviate pain caused by inflammation.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen will help reduce swelling and pain.
- Orthotic devices like compression bandages, shoe inserts, and ankle supports will take the stress off the tendon.
- Your physician may also recommend stretching exercises to help heal the tendon. These exercises will also help prevent further injuries and increase flexibility.
- If these treatments can’t improve the symptoms, surgery is the only option. The inflamed tissue or bone spur will be removed to heal the injury.
Usually, it can take around two to three months for the tendon to heal completely. It is also important to remember that prevention is better than any cure.
Remember that keeping your calf muscles healthy and flexible will help reduce tendon-related injuring. An overused weak Achilles tendon will only result in tendonitis.