Do you experience dull pain near the back of your heel or in the back of your leg after your regular run or after playing your favourite sport? When you ramp
up your exercise is the pain more severe or prolonged? If so, you may have Achilles tendinitis. The Achilles tendon is the thick, strong, springy band of tissue that connects the muscles from the
middle of your calf to your heel bone. You use your Achilles tendon when you walk, run or jump. Achilles tendinitis occurs when the Achilles tendon is repeatedly strained. The Achilles tendon becomes
less flexible, weaker and more prone to injury as we age. Middle-aged weekend warriors and runners who suddenly intensify their training often suffer from Achilles tendinitis.
The cause of paratenonitis is not well understood although there is a correlation with a recent increase in the intensity of running or jumping workouts. It can be associated with repetitive
activities which overload the tendon structure, postural problems such as flatfoot or high-arched foot, or footwear and training issues such as running on uneven or excessively hard ground or running
on slanted surfaces. Tendinosis is also associated with the aging process.
Symptoms can vary from an achy pain and stiffness to the insertion of the Achilles tendon to the heel bone (calcaneus), to a burning that surrounds the whole joint around the inflamed thick tendon.
With this condition, the pain is usually worse during and after activity, and the tendon and joint area can become stiffer the following day. This is especially true if your sheets are pushing down
on your toes and thereby driving your foot into what is termed plantar flexion (downward flexed foot), as this will shorten the tendon all night.
If you think you might have Achilles tendonitis, check in with your doctor before it gets any worse. Your doc will ask about the activities you've been doing and will examine your leg, foot, ankle,
and knee for range of motion. If your pain is more severe, the doctor may also make sure you haven't ruptured (torn) your Achilles tendon. To check this, the doc might have you lie face down and bend
your knee while he or she presses on your calf muscles to see if your foot flexes. Any flexing of the foot means the tendon is at least partly intact. It's possible that the doctor might also order
an X-ray or MRI scan of your foot and leg to check for fractures, partial tears of the tendon, or signs of a condition that might get worse. Foot and ankle pain also might be a sign of other overuse
injuries that can cause foot and heel pain, like plantar fasciitis and Sever's disease. If you also have any problems like these, they also need to be treated.
The latest studies on Achilles tendonitis recommend a treatment plan that incorporates the following three components. Treatment of the inflammation. Strengthening of the muscles that make up the
Achilles tendon using eccentric exercise. These are a very specific type of exercise that has been shown in multiple studies to be a critical component of recovering from Achilles tendonitis.
Biomechanical control (the use of orthotics and proper shoes). Shockwave therapy.
Surgery usually isn't needed to treat Achilles tendinopathy. But in rare cases, someone might consider surgery when rubbing between the tendon and the tissue covering the tendon (tendon sheath)
causes the sheath to become thick and fibrous. Surgery can be done to remove the fibrous tissue and repair any small tendon tears. This may also help prevent an Achilles tendon rupture.
Achilles tendinitis cannot always be prevented but the following tips will help you reduce your risk. If you are new to a sport, gradually ramp up your activity level to your desired intensity and
duration. If you experience pain while exercising, stop. Avoid strenuous activity that puts excessive stress on your Achilles tendon. If you have a demanding workout planned, warm up slowly and
thoroughly. Always exercise in shoes that are in good condition and appropriate for your activity or sport. Be sure to stretch your calf muscles and Achilles tendon before and after working out. If
you suffer from Achilles tendinitis make sure you treat it properly and promptly. If self-care techniques don?t work, don?t delay. Book a consultation with a foot care expert or you may find yourself
sidelined from your favourite sports and activities.