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Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles Tendonitis

What is Achilles Tendonitis?

This term simply refers to the inflammation of your Achilles tendon - the cord-like tendon that joins your calf muscles to the back of your heel bone. If you pinch the back of your leg just above the back of your heel, that’s your Achilles tendon you’re feeling. (If this pinching hurts, that’s a good indicator that either the Achilles tendon or a surrounding structure has been damaged!). Your Achilles tendon plays a major role in walking and helping you lift your heel up off the ground so proper care and management of any pain and injuries is very important.

What causes Achilles Tendonitis?

Generally speaking, any activities that overuse, strain and place an abnormal load on the tendon can lead to it becoming damaged and inflamed. It occurs more frequently in running and sporting activities that have quick transitions between standing still and moving suddenly, like basketball. The load on the achilles tendon can be exacerbated by faulty foot posture and foot biomechanics, improper footwear, standing on your feet all day, tightness in the tendon itself and surrounding musculature, and more.

What are the symptoms?

Pain is located at the back of the heel and can range from a mild discomfort/aching to intense pain that can radiate up the lower leg. The pain is exacerbated by activities that engage the Achilles tendon such as running or pushing your foot off the ground and is alleviated by rest. Pinching the tendon around the heel is often painful. The more intense the pain, the greater the likelihood that there may be a tear in the tendon and in the worst of cases, the tendon may rupture completely.

What should I do?

Because this condition can last for years and the tendon may degenerate with insufficient care, a consultation with your podiatrist is your number one step. Here at The Podiatrist, we start with a thorough examination and assessment of the extent of your damage. It’s important to identify where along the Achilles tendon the damage has occurred and if there’s a chance that it has progressed to a tear. From here, we’ll be able to give you an estimate of how long the injury should take to heal.

Because our goal is to not only get you better as fast as possible but to work with you to help you achieve your goals and maintain your daily work and sporting commitments, each treatment plan is tailored specifically to you and your life. We have a number of treatment techniques we can use to assist in reducing the pain and enhance the healing rate of the injured structures. After discussing these with you and deciding on the best treatment plan for you, we begin treatment and equip you with everything you need to know to ensure you’re not accidentally causing further damage and are helping your tendon heal in the fastest time possible.

Several treatments are available to alleviate pain and heal the tendon. To reduce inflammation and pain, applying ice packs and taking an NSAID, like ibuprofen, are good ways to begin treatment. Proper rest with the combination of physical therapy can rehabilitate the injured tendon. Physical therapies such as strengthening exercises, massage, and ultrasound therapy, which normally lasts two to four weeks, can help to keep the inflammation under control. When physical therapy is not taking place, the use of an orthotics to offload the stresses on the tendon can prove very effective. In severe cases a walking boot may be helpful. If Achilles Tendonitis is not treated, the condition could worsen to Achilles Tendinopathy, which is the degeneration of the tendon and a lot more difficult to overcome.

What’s the end result? Can my pain go away completely?

Absolutely. With the right and timely care, you can be back to running, jumping, playing and realising your full potential with absolutely no pain and a healed normal Achilles tendon.

Will the pain come back?

Generally speaking, yes the pain can come back if the Achilles tendon gets re-injured. However, at The Podiatrist one of our key focuses is to not only treat the tendon but to identify the underlying reason and cause for the damage. Knowing WHY it happened means we can address that and put the best measures in place to greatly reduce the likelihood of it happening again so you can do the activities you love without worrying!

Two weeks with Calcaneal Spur and finally got to see Doc. He sent me to Kevin @ Eleven and with One Appointment, he had me walking without Crutches. Yes! It still hurt. Did the Stretching, Rolling my Foot on a Spikey ball and Iced it occasionally. Return visit, after he had his Holiday, and I' am walking fine. They do NOT want to see me again, unless it deteriorates. Which it has not :-)
- Ivan CooKe