Achilles Tendonitis is a condition of irritation and inflammation of the large tendon in the back of the ankle. Although it is the largest tendon in the body (it connects your calf muscles to your heel bone), it is also the weakest and most prone to injury. It is a common condition that causes pain along the back of the leg near the heel.
The Achilles Tendon can withstand great stresses from running, walking and jumping, the problems arise when there is repetitive stress on the tendon. Other factors that can contribute to Tendonitis are;
- Sudden increase in activity
- Very tight calf muscles
- Direct trauma to the tendon
- Heel bone deformity
- Inadequate stretching prior to exercise
Common symptoms include;
- Pain and stiffness in the Achilles Tendon
- Pain along the tendon or back of the heel
- Thickening of the tendon
- Swelling around the tendon that worsens with activity
If you have experienced a sudden “pop” in the back of your calf or heel, you may have ruptured (torn) your Achilles tendon. See your doctor immediately if you think you may have torn your tendon.
The first step in reducing pain is to decrease or even stop the activities that make the pain worse. If you regularly do high-impact exercises (such as running), switching to low-impact activities will put less stress on the Achilles tendon.
Placing ice on the most painful area of the Achilles tendon is helpful and can be done as needed throughout the day. This can be done for up to 20 minutes and should be stopped earlier if the skin becomes numb.
If you are suffering from Achilles Tendonitis, excessive stretching could make the problem worse. Light stretches on the calf can also be helpful for the condition.
A heel cup or heel cradle elevates the heel to reduce stress and pressure on the Achilles tendon. The device should be made with light-weight, shock absorbing materials. An orthotic device can be used to control over-pronation, support the longitudinal arch, and reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.
If you are suffering from Achilles Tendonitis, the specialists at Foot Solutions Stillorgan can help. Come in for a free Foot and Gait Analysis and our qualified staff will advise on products to help relieve your Achilles tendonitis pain.