Achilles Tendinitis: Aching Tendon Damage
Attached to the back of your heel is one of the biggest and most powerful tendons in your entire body: your Achilles. Named for a legendary Greek hero, it’s responsible for your push-off power when you walk or run, and allows you to rise up on your toes. When it’s injured, your whole foot is weakened. Unfortunately, overuse injuries like Achilles tendinitis are common, particularly for active people.
Irritating the Big Tendon
The powerful Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to the back of your heel bone, allowing the foot to point. You use it every time you rise up on your toes, take a step, jump, run, or walk. While the tendon is designed to handle quite a bit of stress and tension, overuse can irritate it. Overwork and excessive stress inflames the tendon tissue. Over time, this stress and irritation causes some breakdown and degeneration in the tendon. The tissue swells and becomes painful to use. You may notice a stiffness and aching pain in the back of your foot, particularly after activities.
Usually, a sudden increase or change in your activities is behind the problem. Whether you are normally sedentary and suddenly start a new exercise program, or you’re an active athlete that suddenly ups the intensity or endurance in your training, the added stress can irritate the tendon and overwork it. Eventually, the stress causes tissue damage and pain.
Treating the Inflammation and Degeneration
Fortunately, conservative treatment is quite effective for addressing this injury. Our team at Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper will examine your lower limbs and use a variety of tests to diagnose your pain. From there, we can help you establish a treatment plan that meets your individual needs.
You will need to rest your foot, which may mean time away from sports or other strenuous activities. Icing the tendon may help decrease inflammation and swelling, alleviating some of your pain. Changing your shoes or using orthotics may be important for reducing strain on the back of your foot. As the tendon heals, careful exercise and physical therapy will become important. This helps stretch out any tightness, as well as condition your Achilles to handle the strain of your activities so it doesn’t become overworked.
Prevent the Tendon Pain
Preventing Achilles tendinitis is much better for your lower limbs in the long run than having to deal with the damage. The most important thing you can do is make any changes to your activities gradually, so your tendon has time to adjust and condition itself for the added strain. Wear supportive shoes or orthotics to help reduce unnecessary stress on the back of your foot as well. Stretching your tendon and strengthening your calf muscles daily can also help.
Achilles tendinitis is a common injury that not only makes sports and hobbies more painful, but also limits your mobility and gets in the way of daily life. Don’t wait for the pain to get worse to seek help. Let our experts at Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper help you keep your tendons and your lower limbs healthy and pain-free. Contact our office in Jasper, IN, at (812) 481-7200 or online for more information or a consultation to address your pain today.