Achilles tendinitis is categorized as an overuse injury to the Achilles tendon, which is a collection of tissues that connect the calf muscles to your heel bone. The Achilles is the strongest tendon in the body, so tendinitis in the area can be particularly painful. Today, we take a closer look at the condition, and how it is cared for.
Achilles Tendinitis Causes and Symptoms
As we mentioned above, Achilles tendinitis sets in when the tendon becomes overworked. This can happen over the short-term with repeated excess stress, but it more commonly occurs if we stay active as we age. For example, Achilles tendinitis tends to occur in adults who have increased their running distance or intensity, or in middle-aged adults who play sports like tennis or basketball on the weekends.
Age and activity level are the two biggest factors in determining if someone is at risk for developing Achilles tendinitis.
Symptoms of Achilles tendinitis are rather mild, but it also depends on the progression of the condition. Most people will experience:
Moderate pain or discomfort in the heel or lower calf
More concentrated discomfort after long periods of activity
Tightness in your calf
Swelling in the heel or calf
Decreased range of motion when you flex your foot
Treatment Options for Achilles Tendinitis
There are a variety of ways to treat your Achilles tendinitis. From mild activity modification to a more hands-on approach, you can combat your problematic Achilles tendinitis however you prefer. Depending on your preferences, your doctor may recommend:
Limiting or reducing your level of physical activity
Calf strengthening and mobility exercises
Icing the area when you feel pain
Elevating your leg to reduce swelling
Wearing a compression brace
Switching exercise or activity that is less stressful on your Achilles, like cycling or swimming
Should conservative treatments fail, your doctor may also recommend a steroid injection to help calm painful inflammation in the area.
So if you’re dealing with heel or calf pain, swing in to a foot specialist today. The condition can be treated rather easily, but the road to recovery is much longer should you ignore the pain and later rupture your Achilles.