The Achilles tendon is the long band of tissue that connects the leg’s calf muscle to the heel bone. It is also referred to as the calcaneal tendon, since the scientific name for the heel bone is calcaneus.
Avid runners are sometimes subjected to the painful symptoms of an inflamed Achilles tendon, which is referred to as Achilles tendonitis. In addition to painful swelling, the back of the heel becomes stiff, inhibiting mobility. Achilles tendonitis may also affect the ankle’s mobility and can even cause pain in the toes. When people experience tendonitis, it is usually due to an increase in physical intensity far too quickly. Runners who suddenly add more distance or run uphill, are susceptible. Added stress on the tendon while it is inflamed could result in ruptures.
Recognizing the Symptoms
If pain in the leg increases with movement, especially during the evening hours, it might be attributed to Achilles tendonitis. A cracking sound or an odd feeling when the tendon moves is also a symptom. In some cases, a bump may form on the tendon and be felt on the outside of the leg. Swelling will also likely be present, and the affected area may appear red and feel warm to the touch.
Risks Factors and Causes
While tendonitis is more common for avid runners, it can also occur due to aging as the tendon weakens. Other sports, like football and tennis, can also increase your risk of developing Achilles tendonitis.
If you’re a sports enthusiast, but play sporadically, you will be more susceptible to tendonitis. Overstretching the tendon or repetitive movements are primary culprits behind the condition. Sports are not the only way this condition occurs. Occupations that require you to stay on your feet for long periods of time or climb stairs can also cause tendonitis.
Foot structure issues may also be a contributing factor. For instance, a flat foot, (one without an adequate arch) can place additional strain on the tendon. Excessive weight adds to the problem, as weight adds pressure on the foot and also further strains the tendon. High blood pressure also places you at a higher risk as does type 1 diabetes and autoimmune diseases.
Individuals who frequently get Achilles tendonitis also risk rupturing the tendon. This is a serious injury that often requires surgery to correct.
Treatment for Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is evaluated and treated on an individual basis. Treatment and care is necessary as soon as symptoms develop. Ignoring symptoms can cause them to get worse, which can result in bigger injuries down the road.
It is important that an experienced podiatrist diagnose and treat you for effective results. For most people, surgery is not necessary to treat tendonitis. Most patients require rest and ice therapy to fully heal. If the tendon ruptures, you may need a cast for a few weeks to help in the healing process. After you have healed, you will likely need physical therapy to help strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and help with endurance, balance, and coordination.
Achilles Tendonitis Treatment in Cincinnati
The podiatrists at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care can diagnose your symptoms and create an effective treatment plan that is right for your condition.