Are you experiencing pain running from your heel to your calf? If so, it’s possible you’re dealing with Achilles Tendinitis, an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon runs along the back of your calf, and attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone. Because of the placement of the Achilles tendon, it’s easily injured, especially for athletes. Still, anyone can suffer from Achilles tendinitis, as it is a common overuse injury.
What Is Achilles Tendinitis?
For athletes, the Achilles tendon can become damaged while participating in sports ranging from football and basketball to dancing and gymnastics. Abrupt actions such as quick starts, stops, and pivots are all common Achilles stressors.
The condition may also be caused by wearing high heels and having flat feet or congenital tightness in the leg muscles. Rheumatoid arthritis and infection in the area have also been linked to tendonitis.
Athletic status aside, certain gender and age factors present a higher risk for Achilles tendinitis. For example, this injury is more common in men, but both genders over age 40 tend to suffer from Achilles tendonitis. Tendon strain incidences may also increase with flat arches, obesity, and poorly fitting shoes.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis
Burning and stiffness of the Achilles tendon are the most common symptoms, and the pain is usually more intense if the Achilles tendon has actually ruptured. You will also feel pain when you perform certain actions, such as rising on the ball of your foot or your toes or pointing your toes. Some patients also note swelling and redness as symptoms.
Treatment for Achilles Tendinitis
While it is common for minor Achilles Tendinitis to heal on its own, you should always seek medical treatment if you feel pain in your tendon calf. In the meantime, rest your leg. You should also ice your leg or use a cold compress if you notice swelling. Elevating the affected limb is also recommended.
Some Achilles tendon injuries respond well to physician-approved gentle stretching. With your doctor, you can learn some of these stretches under supervision as appropriate. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, splints, or a walking boot as part of your treatment protocol.
During recovery, your doctor may recommend that you wear a heel lift to prevent excessive stretching of the heel. You should ask your physician when he or she considers it safe to resume physically demanding work and participation in sports again.
If you are experiencing symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis, or are suffering from any orthopedic injury, please contact us at Sideline Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at 540-552-7133 or make a convenient online appointment. Our providers are here to help you feel better, move better, be better!