WEAR AND TEAR

Achilles tendinitis is the uncomfortable overuse and inflammation of your Achilles tendon. Easily one of the strongest connective tissues in the human body, your Achilles connects your calf muscle to your heel bone. This allows you to rise up on your toes and your foot to point downward. It also plays a crucial role in how you push off the ground, which makes walking, running, and jumping possible. However, sudden increases in stress on the tendon, especially if they are repeated, injure it and cause irritation and swelling.

This is a common problem for runners and other athletes, especially when they start a new routine or increase the intensity of their training. Worn out shoes, frequent jumping, and exercising on hard surfaces can also stress the tissue. Usually you feel a mild ache around the back of the ankle which increases with activity and decreases with rest. The tendon may be tender to the touch and feel stiff. The tightening and pulling that occurs can sometimes create a bone spur on the back of the heel bone, which rubs against the connector and may result in additional irritation. Since this is an overuse injury, the condition does not get better on its own—you will need to treat the issue for relief.

 

RESTORING THE TISSUES

You shouldn’t ignore Achilles tendinitis. The longer your tendon swells and stays irritated, the harder it is to eliminate the problem. Over time, the injury can actually weaken the connector, putting you at risk for ruptures. Specialist Marshall L. Lukoff, DPM, can evaluate your affected foot to determine the extent of the injury. He may request diagnos tic images to rule out other possible causes. Once the problem has been identified and confirmed, you can begin targeted treatment.

Since activity is the source of the issue, rest is the most important step in relieving the pain and healing the injury. You’ll need to take a break from your activities and any sports that could strain the Achilles. You’ll need to reduce swelling and inflammation as well. Icing helps with this. Marshall L. Lukoff, DPM may also recommend anti-inflammatory medications. As the tendon recovers, physical therapy can help stretch out any tightness and rebuild the tendon’s strength. Once it has sufficiently recovered, you can recondition it to handle the strain of your activities again.

Achilles tendinitis is easy to develop, but it can interrupt your life and limit your mobility. If you don’t care for it right away, either, it worsens and becomes much harder to deal with later. If you notice pain behind your ankle whenever you try to participate in normal activities, contact Foot Care Specialists, PC to eliminate the issue quickly.