Achilles tendinitis happens when the long tendon that runs down the back of your lower leg becomes acutely swollen and inflamed. The Achilles tendon is the body's biggest tendon. It attaches your calf muscles to your heel bone and is used while walking, running, climbing stairs, jumping, and standing on your tiptoes. The Achilles tendon can endure a lot of stress from running and jumping, but it's also susceptible to tendonitis, which is a problem that occurs from overuse and degeneration. Tendinosis is the term to describe the chronic overuse condition when the tendon degenerates with repetitive strain and injury. Living with Achilles tendonitis can be very painful but here at Healthy Steps, we can help treat your Achilles tendonitis with custom orthotics, recommended footwear, and kinesiology tape. Check out our blog “The Benefits of Using Rock Tape” to find out how kinesiology tape helps.
What causes Achilles tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis isn't usually caused by a specific injury. Repetitive stress on the tendon usually causes the problem. This usually occurs when we force our bodies to do too much, too fast, but other factors may increase the risk of tendinitis, such as:
- Increase in the amount or duration of exercise activity without giving your body time to adapt. For example, increasing your daily running distance by a few miles without giving your body time to adjust to the new distance.
- Calf muscles that are too tight. The Achilles tendon may be overworked if your calf muscles are tight and you initiate an intensive workout regimen all of a sudden.
- Spur on the bone. This is where the Achilles tendon binds to the heel bone, extra bone growth will rub against the tendon, causing pain.
These can also cause Achilles tendonitis:
- Playing sports, such as tennis, that require quick stops and changes of direction
- Wearing old or poorly fitting shoes
- Wearing high heels daily or for prolonged durations
- Being older, as the Achilles tendon weakens with age
- Underlying Medical Conditions such as high blood pressure, Arthritis, Diabetes
Symptoms to look out for
The following are some of the most common symptoms of Achilles tendonitis:
- In the morning or after being stationary for some time, you’re experiencing pain and discomfort along the Achilles tendon.
- Pain that worsens with movement along the tendon or at the back of the heel
- Exercising causes severe discomfort the next day.
- Tendon thickening is a condition in which the tendon becomes thicker.
- Spur on the bone (insertional tendinitis)
- Swelling is present all of the time and gets worse as the day progresses.
- You could have ruptured (torn) your Achilles tendon if you feel a sudden "pop" in the back of your calf or heel. If you suspect you've broken your tendon, seek help and treatment right away.
- Limited range of motion when flexing your foot
- The skin on your heel overly warm to the touch
Treating Achilles Tendonitis can be achieved at home through decreasing physical activity while your body repairs itself and RICE “rest, ice, compression and elevation”. However, Achilles Tendonitis cannot always be effectively treated at home, and that’s where we come in. Here at Healthy Steps, we can provide custom orthotics and other assistive devices to help treat your Achilles Tendonitis to get you back on your feet as soon as possible. Contact us today for a consultation!