Achilles Tendonitis occurs when the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed. The Achilles tendon joins your calf muscle to the heel bone. When a person is walking and running the Achilles tendon aids in lifting the heel from the ground. Athletes are more prone to this injury because excessive, repetitive activities — like running — can overuse the tendon. Injury can also manifest in individuals who have large amounts of stress acting on their feet. Standing for hours on end, too much pronation (flattening of the arch in the foot) and an increase in physical activity may also contribute to the development of Achilles Tendonitis. The first symptom of inflammation in the Achilles is typically mild discomfort around the region. As the condition progresses, other symptoms include:
- Tenderness when the sides are squeezed
- Intense Pain
The assistance of a podiatrist is important in the treatment of Achilles tendonitis. Initially, they can assist in confirming your diagnosis and assess the extent of the damage. Your podiatrist will then determine how long the injury should to take to heal. Podiatrists can use a number of treatment techniques to assist in reducing the pain and enhance the healing rate of the injured structures. This will facilitate your return to activity and sport, and limit negative long-term effects.
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 orthoses 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 Tendonosis, which is the degeneration of the tendon and a lot more difficult to overcome.