Achilles tendonitis is a common cause of heel pain for many individuals, whether they’re athletes or people who just have to spend a lot of time on their feet.
If you suspect you have Achilles tendonitis – or have persistent foot pain of any sort – schedule an appointment at Foot Specialists of Long Island. The sooner we identify and address the problem, the sooner you can get back to life without pain holding you back!
What is Achilles Tendonitis?
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It is found in the back of the leg, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone.
When overstrained, the Achilles tendon can become inflamed and in more severe cases, the tendon can become torn or fully ruptured.
What Does Achilles Tendonitis Feel Like?
The discomfort caused by Achilles tendonitis can be hard to ignore. Typical symptoms include:
- Pain in the back of the heel or just above it
- Pain that tends to increase after activity – especially running or climbing stairs
- Stiffness after long periods of inactivity (such as when getting up in the morning)
In most cases, the pain of Achilles tendonitis will start off as a mild ache after activity but can become worse over time if the condition is not properly treated.
What Causes Achilles Tendonitis?
Overuse tends to be the most common cause of Achilles tendonitis. This can occur due to a sudden increase in the intensity of your activities, or by putting the tendon through repetitive stresses (e.g. a lot of running, jumping, stair-climbing, etc.) without giving your body enough time for rest and recovery.
Other factors that can contribute to one’s risk of Achilles tendonitis:
- Abnormalities in foot structure that place more stress on the tendon
- Having tight calf muscles that can excessively pull on the tendon
- Wearing improper or unsupportive footwear for your activities
- Not following proper technique during activities
- Age (unfortunately, the Achilles tendon tends to weaken as we become older)
How to Treat Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis usually responds well to conservative treatments such as the RICE method:
- Rest your foot
- Ice the swollen area (no more than 15-20 minutes at a time, and wrap the ice or cold pack so it doesn’t directly touch your skin)
- Compress the area gently with a wrap or bandage (skip if you do not feel confident doing this)
- Elevate your foot above heart level whenever sitting or lying down
If your condition does not improve within 48 hours, your pain is severe, or you have any other concerns whatsoever, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with us.
We’ll conduct a full evaluation of your foot and ankle area. This might sometimes involve imaging tests such as x-rays or MRIs to ensure we know the full extent of the damage.
Depending on our findings, we will recommend a course of treatment that best suits your personal needs. Some treatments we may recommend:
- Immobilizing the area with a splint or brace to allow for faster healing
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications and continuing RICE therapy
- Wearing custom orthotics to provide additional support and redistribution of forces away from the tendon
- Stretches and specific exercises to better condition your tendon, calf muscles, and other connective tissues
Although uncommon, surgery might be necessary to aid in the recovery of more severe cases. The longer you wait, the worse the problem can become and the higher the chances of surgery may be. Never try to ignore your pain or delay seeing us whenever you feel something may be wrong. Always listen to what your body is telling you.
Getting You Back to Action as Soon as Possible
We’re here not only to help patients overcome Achilles tendonitis and other sports injuries as quickly and as safely as possible, but also to take smart steps toward preventing repeats of those problems in the future. We can help you find the right equipment, exercises, and activity changes to keep you happily moving with a much lower risk of pain.
Schedule an appointment at our Massapequa office by calling (516) 804-9038 or by filling out our online contact form.