An overuse of the Achilles tendon is known as Achilles tendinitis. The Achilles tendon is the band of tissue which connects the calf muscles found at the back of the lower leg to the heel bone. Achilles tendinitis happens most times in runners who have suddenly increased the duration or intensity of their runs. It also happens with middle-aged people who play sports like basketball or tennis.
Many times, treatment can be done at home with simple methods. If this does not work, however, it is important you see your doctor. If the tendonitis worsens, it can lead to a tendon tearing. You could need a medication to ease the pain or even a surgical repair.
Symptoms usually start out with a mild ache above the heel or in the back of the leg after running or another sports activity. Episodes of greater pain could happen after a long time of sprinting, running or stair climbing.
You could also experience stiffness or tenderness, in the morning especially, which will improve most times with some mild activity.
If you are experiencing pain around the Achilles tendon which is persistent, speak with your doctor. Seek medical attention right away if the disability or pain is severe. You could have a torn or ruptured Achilles tendon.
Achilles tendinitis treatments don’t necessarily include surgery. You should remember that it could take 2 to 3 months or more for the pain to subside.
You can try using ice on the Achilles tendon for fifteen to twenty minutes, two or three times each day. Take the ice off if numbness occurs.
You might be able to manage the symptoms more easily by changing activity:
They might also want you to make changes with your footwear:
Compressive elastic bandages or raps could help lower swelling and movement of the tendon.
Raise the foot which is affected above the level of your heart to lower swelling. Sleep with your foot elevated.
Your doctor or physical therapist can show you some stretching exercises for the Achilles tendon. You need to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your shins and calves to prevent the recurrence.
A wedge or shoe insert which elevates your heels lightly can relieve strain on the tendon and give a cushion that lowers the amount of force being exerted on your Achilles tendon.
NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin may be helpful with the swelling and pain. Speak with your doctor about using them.
If these treatments don’t work, you could need surgery to take out the abnormal areas of the tendon and the inflamed tissue. Surgery could also be used to take out a bone spur that is irritating the tendon.
ESWT, or extracorporeal shock wave therapy could be an alternative to surgery for anyone who haven’t responded to other treatments. Low-does sound waves are used with this treatment.
Looking for more ways to help? Here're some excellent Achilles Tendonitis exercises:
Symptoms of tendinitis can be improved with lifestyle changes. Symptoms can return, however, if you don’t limit the activities that are causing you pain, of if you don’t maintain the flexibility and strength of the tendon.