There are many parts of your body that are designed to withstand a great amount of stress and pressure. The Achilles tendon is one of them. It is the strongest tendon in your body connecting the muscles in your calf to your heel bone. Any time you want to take a step and lift your heel off of the ground, the Achilles tendon is put to use. It is a strong band of tissue that can withstand more than one thousand pounds but like any other part of your body, it has limits.
What is Achilles Tendonitis?
Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon. When your body experiences any level of injury, a natural response is for the area to become inflamed which can cause swelling and pain. Achilles tendonitis is commonly classified as an overuse injury. The tendon is prone to inflammation when it is exposed to repetitive stress or a sudden increase of intensity.
The Achilles tendon is the most frequently injured and ruptured tendon and is often a result of a sports injury. Sports enthusiasts who dive into weekend activities after being sedentary all week or athletes in intense training day after day are at risk for putting too much stress on the Achilles tendon. Too much stress results in strain on the tendon, leading to tendonitis.
What are the Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis?
If Achilles tendonitis is ignored or goes unresolved, the strained tendon can develop microscopic tears putting it at risk for a full rupture. For this reason, knowing the symptoms and taking proactive treatment measures at the beginning will ensure the health and full recovery of your Achilles tendon. Some of the common symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:
- Achiness, stiffness or soreness within the tendon
- Tenderness or stiffness in the morning
- Pain that starts small and gets worse over time
- Pain above the heel after exercise
- A bump or swelling on the tendon
- Pain when the sides of the tendon are squeezed
What is the Treatment for Achilles Tendonitis?
In most cases, conservative treatment will help alleviate your symptoms although it may take several weeks for symptoms to completely resolve. To help patients with Achilles tendonitis, Dr. Danciger implements any one or more of the following treatment options:
- RICE – Rest, ice, compression and elevation
- Bandages to restrict motion of the tendon
- Laser therapy-MLS laser therapy uses wavelengths of light that have a strong anti-inflammatory and pain reducing effect on tissues. It helps painful conditions that come with swelling or inflammation, it helps speed the healing process.
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Custom orthotics to support the foot and relieve stress on the tendon
- Stretching exercises, massage and physical therapy
- Immobilization with a boot or cast
- Surgery to repair any tears in the tendon
How Can I Avoid Developing Achilles Tendonitis?
To reduce your risk of developing problems with your Achilles tendon, take precautions when it comes to exercise. Always wear shoes that provide adequate cushioning and arch support. Avoid doing too much, too soon and slowly ease into an exercise routine. If you are involved in high-impact activities, switch things up with low-impact ones as well to alleviate the stress on your feet. Finally, take things easy when you notice pain.
If you are experiencing consistent pain in your Achilles tendon, do not wait to seek treatment as you may be vulnerable to further injury. Make an appointment with Dr. Danciger today who can assess the severity of your injury and begin treatment immediately. Call our office at (760) 568-0108 or request an appointment directly from our homepage.