The Achilles is the strongest tendon in your body, and it’s little surprise why. It needs to be in order to handle all the abuse we hurl at it every day, from standing and walking to dancing, running, and playing.
Unfortunately, no tendon—even the mighty Achilles—is indestructible. Repeated stress and pressure from sports or other repetitive activities, without adequate rest time, can rip tiny, microscopic tears into the fibers of your tendon, leading to swelling and pain.
Exploring the Symptoms
The symptoms of Achilles tendinitis can vary somewhat depending on the primary location of the injury, but there are some common trends
- Aching, pain, or soreness in the tendon
- Tenderness and/or stiffness, especially in the morning
- Progressive pain that gets worse over time, especially with activity
- Visible swelling or a bump on the back of the tendon
- Pain when the sides of the tendon are squeezed
- Heel pain
An immediate, sharp pain (often accompanied by a pop or snap) in your Achilles, rather than a gradual onset and progression of symptoms, may indicate a full Achilles tendon rupture.
How You Get Achilles Tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis results from overuse. Runners are particularly susceptible, but any sport that involves running and jumping on hard surfaces, such as basketball, can be considered high risk. Other contributing factors include:
- Age. Middle-aged adults, particularly men, are the most at-risk group, since the tendon weakens as you get older but activity levels may remain high.
- Sudden changes in physical activity. Athletes who begin or ramp up new exercises too quickly, without building their conditioning or endurance first, are more likely to experience tendon issues. “Weekend warriors” who sit at a desk all week and then play all weekend are also at higher risk.
- Physical and medical conditions. Flat feet, stiff calves, and obesity all tend to put extra strain on the tendons. Furthermore, certain diseases, such as diabetes, can magnify risk.
- Equipment. Worn-out shoes, or those that are ill-designed for your sport, don’t fit, or don’t provide proper support put extra strain on the Achilles.
Finding Achilles Tendinitis Relief from a Coachella Valley Podiatrist
If you have pain in the back of your calf and think you might have Achilles tendinitis, don’t sit around waiting for the pain to get worse—visit Harvey Danciger, DPM for evaluation and treatment. In addition to pain, the condition—if left untreated—can progressively weaken the tendon, making it more susceptible to a more significant tear or complete rupture later.
Fortunately, this condition can generally be dealt with using conservative, home-care methods. Taking a break from your activities and giving the tendon ample time to rest—in combination with ice, compression bandages, or medication for the pain—is often the best strategy.
Other non-invasive treatments we may implement include physical therapy exercises, custom orthotics, or MLS laser therapy, which uses light in particular wavelengths to ease swelling and pain and accelerate your body’s natural healing processes.
In the most severe cases, when the above methods have been unsuccessful, we may consider surgery to repair the tears in the tendon. Although this method is usually effective, it’s considered a last resort due to the inherent risks of surgery and the high success rates of less aggressive methods.
You don’t have to suffer from a swollen, painful tendon any longer. To ease your discomfort and prevent future complications, contact Dr. Danciger in Palm Desert for your appointment. You can reach us online through our handy contact form, or by dialing 760-568-0108 today.