The largest tendon in the body is the Achilles tendon, and its function is to help you walk, jump, run, and move about. But, in accordance with Greek mythology for which it is named, this tendon can represent a major weakness. This tendon is subject to severe inflammation (tendonitis) that can completely immobilize you. To prevent it from becoming your area of vulnerability, let’s brush up on what Achilles tendonitis is and what treatments are available for it.
How Does Achilles Tendonitis Occur?
The body’s natural reaction to injury or illness is inflammation. It is the body’s way of communicating that your tendon is under too much pressure and you should take it easy.
Tendonitis is the inflammation of one or more tendons. Sudden movements like speeding up or slowing down abruptly, pivoting or shifting direction too fast can cause tendonitis. The results of the inflammation are swelling, pain, and irritation. In the case of Achilles tendonitis, common causes are overuse and stress. This injury commonly occurs among athletes, people with flat feet or fallen arches, people with tight leg muscles and tendons, or people who often wear high heels.
There are two types of tendonitis to be aware of:
- Noninsertional Achilles Tendonitis – this is most common among younger people who play sports and run regularly. The inflammation happens in the middle of the tendon.
- Insertional Achilles Tendonitis – this can affect anyone, at any time, and occurs the lower portion of the tendon.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis
You most likely have tendonitis in your Achilles tendon if you experience pain around your heel when stretching or moving your ankle. Common symptoms of tendonitis are tenderness and swelling around the tendon.
Treatment Options for Achilles Tendonitis
When you experience inflammation, there are three things you should do: rest, ice, and elevate. Give your tendon time to heal by reducing your physical activity. Some other pain-relieving treatments are calf stretches, heel-drop exercises, and gentle ankle rolling. If the resting, icing, and stretching aren’t providing relief, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or pain medications may be helpful.
If none of these therapies work, there are orthotic solutions that can help provide more comfort. For more severe or prolonged cases of tendonitis, be sure to schedule a consultation with your orthopedic doctor for stronger treatments. Your doctor may recommend treatments such as cortisone injections, physical therapy, or even surgery. Other causes of inflammation may need to be ruled out, as well.
Remember, tendonitis is your body’s way of telling you that you’re pushing yourself too hard and should slow it down for a while. If you start feeling pain or tightness above your heel, switch up your workouts to take it easy on your foot, and stretch it out.
Injuries and inflammation in your feet should be treated as soon as possible to prevent more damage. If you’re experiencing severe pain due to injury or inflammation, contact Advanced Bone & Joint today to schedule an appointment with our orthopedic specialists. Call (636) 229-4222 today or schedule an appointment online.