An injury that occurs as a result of overuse of the achilles tendon is achilles tendinitis. The achilles tendon is a strong cord that connects the calf muscles that are located at the back of the knee and connects to the heel bone. This injury can lead to more serious conditions including achilles tendon tears, which require surgery, so it is important that medical attention is obtained as soon as possible. Read on for a look at more on achilles tendinitis and how it is treated.
What are the symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis?
There are a variety of symptoms that comes with achilles tendinitis including:
- A mild to severe throbbing that occurs in the back of the leg or near the heel
- Pain that occurs after physical activity
- Severe leg pain that throbs or shoots down the leg after intense physical activity
- Tenderness in the calf or near the heel
- Muscle stiffness in the leg
Who is More Susceptible to Achilles Tendinitis?
Some people are more likely to develop achilles tendinitis over others. Most commonly these people are more physically active and rely heavily on their leg muscles. Fast stops and starts can wear on the tendon and cause pain over time. Some of the people who are most susceptible to achilles tendinitis include:
- Middle aged men are the most common demographic to develop achilles tendinitis
- Wearing worn out sneakers or shoes with little support can increase your chances of developing this painful condition
- Patients who have diabetes or high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing achilles tendinitis
- Athletes have a higher chance of being diagnosed with achilles tendinitis than adults with other professionals
- People with flat arches may develop achilles tendinitis more easily than people with naturally curved arches
- Some antibiotics can increase your chance of achilles tendon strain
How is Achilles Tendinitis Treated?
Your doctor can treat achilles tendinitis in a number of different ways including:
- Diagnostic Tests- Your doctor may order x-rays, ultrasounds or MRIs to check on the health of your achilles tendons and leg muscles.
- Medication- Some doctors will prescribe medication to help patients manage their pain. Others will recommend that patients take over the counter pain relief medication such as Advil, Motrin or Naproxen to ease their pain.
- Rehabilitation- Physical therapy is a common treatment option for patients who have a diagnosis of achilles tendinitis. Physical therapy is a viable option which includes a combination of exercises and orthotic devices. The exercises will help repair your muscles, while an orthotic device helps to support your tendons and muscles and relieves the strain you may feel on your calf and heel.
- Surgery- Another option is surgery. When rehabilitation doesn’t seem to be working, some doctors may recommend surgery to repair the tendon before it develops into a tear or tendon rupture.
Relieving the Strain on Your Achilles Tendon
While doctors aren’t entirely sure if it is possibly to prevent achilles tendinitis, there are ways to help reduce your risk. Some of the measures you can take to lessen the likelihood of your developing achilles tendinitis include:
- Wear supportive running shoes
- Stretch your legs daily
- Increase your activity level in increments
- Make sure to stretch your calf muscles before exercising
- Alternate exercises such as running, swimming, jumping and hiking
The Bottom Line
While you can’t prevent achilles tendinitis, you can help to reduce your strain on your achilles tendon. It is important to take care of your leg muscles, tendons and use crutches so that you can live pain free.