Tendinitis by Any Other Name Still Hurts
To be precise, tendinitis means the tendon is inflamed, and this may not be painful in and of itself. The term tendinosis is used to describe the little microtears in the tissue that cause pain. However, most people still understand tendinitis to be a painful inflammation of the Achilles that occurs from overuse. Although the pain may seem to come on suddenly, it is an accumulation of tiny tears in the tissue that brings the issue to a head. They can also weaken the fabric of the tendon, which means that an impact can cause it to tear completely. These ruptures are very painful and make it almost impossible to stand up on your toes or push forward with each step.
Who’s on First—and at Risk?
This set of problems is more likely to occur in men over the age of 30. If you work all week and then head out for a run or a pickup game of softball or basketball on the weekend, your tendons may not be in shape for the extra strain of these recreational activities. The pushing off, stop-and-go, and excessive pavement pounding cause microtears and inflammation. Then, all it takes is one hard landing from a jump—or one competitor ramming into your legs—and you hear the tell-tale pop or snap of a torn tendon.
Achilles tendinitis can occur on anyone, though. Women who are on their feet a lot—whether in teaching, nursing, at manufacturing jobs, or as sales clerks—risk this injury, too. Often the condition results—in young and old alike—from a sudden increase in the intensity or duration of physical activity. The area on the back of your ankle can look red, swollen, and feel hot. Swollen tissues can increase the pressure and pain on surrounding areas.
How to Treat Achilles Issues
Achilles tendinitis usually responds well to conservative treatments such as the RICE method: rest your foot, ice the swollen area, compress swelling with a crepe bandage, and elevate your foot above heart level. All of these will help reduce swelling and relieve pain. If you’ve tried these and the pain does not improve, give Mark Gasparini, D.P.M., a call. We can suggest a pain reliever or anti-inflammatory medication that’s right for you, and may fit you with custom orthotics that elevate your heel and remove some of the tension from the tendon. We can also use physical therapy to strengthen your muscles and stretch out your tendons, making them more limber and able to withstand the stresses of your activities. While they heal, you can still maintain your fitness level by switching to activities like swimming that doesn’t put as much stress on this band of tissue.
If you suspect you have one of the issues of Achilles tendinopathy, don’t hesitate to give Mark Gasparini, D.P.M., a call at (516) 804-9038. We can do a medical examination and use imaging tests like MRIs to determine the exact nature of your injury and prescribe the correct treatment for it. If you live in the Lindenhurst, Farmingdale, Bethpage, or Massapequa, NY, area, we’d love to provide you with excellent podiatric care for whatever ails your feet. Visit us online, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest in foot care news.