Achilles tendonitis is a condition that affects the large tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel. When the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed, most commonly from overuse, it causes pain in the back of the foot and the heel. Most at risk for this type of injury are active adults between 30 and 50 years old. The pain often worsens after exercising and can be accompanied by stiffness, swelling, and tenderness to the touch. Because Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury, it is a good idea to avoid sudden increases in the amount or frequency of exercise. Jumping repeatedly during exercise and running on hard surfaces also can add to the damage. Most importantly, choose supportive footwear that provides ample cushioning and arch support. If you believe you may have an Achilles tendon injury, please consult a podiatrist who can perform diagnostic tests to determine the severity of the condition and offer appropriate treatment options.
Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Darren Day, DPM of Hawaii. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
What Is the Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can create immense difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.
What Are the Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?
There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common injuries are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.
Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms
- Dull to severe pain
- Increased blood flow to the tendon
- Thickening of the tendon
- Extreme pain and swelling in the foot
- Total immobility
Treatment and Prevention
Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation, which can include an MRI. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:
- Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise
- Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses