The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in your body – but it also tends to be a frequent source of heel pain for many people!
Achilles tendinitis is a problem we frequently see and treat at Michigan Foot & Ankle Specialists, so never delay in reaching out to us for the help you need. The sooner you address your heel pain, the faster you can get back to doing the activities you love without being held back.
What is Achilles Tendinitis? What are the Symptoms?
Achilles tendinitis occurs when the strong band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone becomes inflamed and aggravated. This can cause symptoms such as:
- Pain, typically starting as a mild ache in the back of the leg or just above the heel.
- Increased pain or discomfort following running, other sports activities, or even a period of walking up hills or stairs.
- Tenderness and/or stiffness after long periods of inactivity (e.g. sleeping), which usually improves after you start to move around for a bit.
Any sort of pain or discomfort in your heel or lower leg that continues to come back for more than a couple days or so is something that should receive professional attention promptly. And, naturally, any form of severe pain should be addressed immediately – that may be a sign of a torn or ruptured Achilles.
What Causes Achilles Tendinitis?
Fundamentally, any sort of excessive strain upon the Achilles tendon can result in it becoming inflamed. In other words, it is receiving more stress than it is conditioned to bear.
Such strain often comes from overuse injuries, in which activity either forces too intense a strain on the Achilles all at once, or overloads the Achilles over time with repetitive stress (such as from long-distance running without enough opportunity for rest and recovery).
Additional factors can contribute to stress and increased injury risk on the Achilles, including:
- Weakening of the Achilles tendon with age.
- Structural abnormalities such as flat feet or tight calf muscles that exert extra pressure on the tendon.
- Wearing footwear that is unsupportive or has too low of a heel.
- Certain medical conditions and medications that might increase Achilles tendinitis risk.
Treating Achilles Tendinitis
A sound Achilles tendinitis treatment plan will not only address the symptoms of the problem, but identify and address the causes as well. This will help reduce your chances of the problem occurring again in the future.
Parts of a comprehensive treatment plan might include:
- Changes to exercise routines.
- Changes to footwear.
- Specialized stretches and exercises to help condition the Achilles tendon and connected elements.
- Laser therapy to relieve pain and accelerate recovery.
- Custom orthotics to provide corrective support and cushion areas vulnerable to stress.
Our ultimate recommendations will depend largely upon what we find during our examination, as well as learning more about your lifestyle and personal needs. We always want to provide treatment that best suits each patient uniquely.
Trying to “push on” with Achilles tendinitis is only asking the problem to keep you miserable – and it increases your chances of it becoming even worse!
If Achilles tendinitis or any other form of heel pain is consistently causing you trouble, contact our Dearborn office at (313) 582-6222. We’ll be happy to set you on the path to recovery.
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7243 Chase Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48126
Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
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