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Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles Tendinitis

One of the most common foot injuries that orthopedic doctors treat is pain arising from the back of the heel. This is due to a condition called as Achilles tendinitis. Let’s take a further look at Achilles tendinitis, its symptoms, causes, risk factors, prevention, and treatment.

What Is Achilles Tendinitis?

There is a band of tissue known as Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. This tendon is used while jumping, running and walking. Inflammation of this tendon leads to Achilles tendinitis. Intense or continuous physical activity is usually the cause of this condition.

What are the Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis?

Here are some of the most common symptoms you may experience with Achilles Tendinitis.

  • Tightness in calf muscles.
  • Swelling or discomfort in the back of your heels.
  • Pain in the back of your shin or heels.
  • Decreased range of motion.
  • Episodes of severe pain after prolonged physical activity.

What are the causes of Achilles Tendinitis?

Any repeated activity can lead to Achilles Tendonitis. However, here are some examples of common causes of Achilles Tendonitis.

  • Working out without proper warm-up.
  • Playing sports that need quick motion and change in direction like badminton or tennis.
  • A sudden increase in physical activity.
  • Wearing poorly fitting shoes.
  • Wearing high heels for longer durations.

What are the Factors That May Increase the Risk of Achilles Tendonitis?

There are a variety of factors that may increase the risk of Achilles tendinitis. Here are some of the most common Achilles tendinitis risk factors.

Age

Achilles tendinitis may impact people of all ages, but it is more common as age advances.

Sex

Achilles tendinitis occurs more commonly among men.

Flat Feet

Flat arch of feet can put more stress on the Achilles tendon.

Weather

Pain is experienced more in cold weather than in warm climates. Running uphill can also predispose you to this condition.

Medical Issues

People suffering from Psoriasis or high blood pressure are at higher risk of developing this condition.

How can I Prevent Achilles Tendinitis?

Certain measures can be taken to reduce the risk of Achilles tendonitis. These preventative measures include:

Stretching

Always stretch before and after the workout. Also, stretch your calf muscles every-day in the morning to increase the strength and flexibility.

Increase Intensity Gradually

Gradually increase the intensity of any kind of workout or sport.

Vary Intensity of Exercise

Try to combine high and low-intensity exercises like tennis and swimming or badminton and yoga.

Shoe Selection

Always select shoes with good arch support, proper cushioning and heel support. Avoid wearing high heels for longer durations or take frequent breaks to relax your feet.

Treatment Options for Achilles Tendinitis

There are a variety of treatments for Achilles tendinitis. Some of these treatments are ones done through self-care routines, while others may be prescribed or recommended by your doctor.

Self-Care Remedies For Achilles Tendinitis

It includes the following steps, which are often called as RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) remedy:

Rest

Give rest to your feet and supporting structures by avoiding the physical activity for a few days or switching to lesser intensity workout, such as swimming.

Ice

Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes to reduce the pain and swelling.

Compression

Wrapping compressive bandages or athletic tapes around the heel can help in reducing the swelling and strain on the tendon.

Elevation

Elevate your foot above the level of your heart while sleeping. This helps in reducing the swelling and inflammation.

Medical Treatments for Achilles Tendinitis

Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis usually respond well to self-care methods. However, if your symptoms are persistent and severe, the doctor may suggest other treatment options like:

Medications

The doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving drugs.

Physical Thrapy

Specific stretching exercises can help in healing and strengthening of tendon and supporting structures.

Modalities

A treatment modality such as Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy (aka Shockwave) is a technology, like that used to break up kidney stones, that generates a healing response at the site of Achilles pain. It is non-invasive and can delay or prevent surgery in many patients.

Orthotic Devices

A shoe insert or an insole can help in relieving the strain on your tendon by giving better support to your heels.

Surgery

In severe cases, where conservative treatment does not show any improvement or if there is a tear in the tendon, then your doctor may suggest surgery.

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