The pain of Achilles tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis is an injury commonly caused by overuse of the tendon, or doing too much, too soon. “Weekend warriors” who push themselves to the limit, or athletes who step up their training too aggressively can injure the Achilles tendon by working it too hard before their body has time to adjust to the activity. It’s also more likely to happen as you get older since your body’s tendons naturally become less strong and pliable with age.
If you suffer from Achilles tendinitis, you may experience pain centered in the back of the leg and/or above the heel that ranges from mild to severe. This pain may:
- Feel worse after sports or activity.
- Make running or jumping impossible.
- Feel better if you wear shoes with heels, and worse if you go barefoot or wear very flat shoes.
Don’t ignore symptoms
Treatment for Achilles tendinitis is most effective when it’s done early, before irritation and inflammation become worse. That’s why it’s important to see your podiatrist if you experience pain in your heel, ankle, or back of the leg. In severe cases the tendon can rupture, which requires immediate medical attention and often causes excruciating pain.
Fortunately, most mild to moderate cases of Achilles tendinitis can be effectively managed with non-invasive methods such as ice, anti-inflammatory medications, and avoiding stress on the tendon. You may have to wear special shoe inserts known as custom orthotics, and eliminate high-impact activities for a while. Your podiatrist can work with you to determine when you’re ready to gradually and gently resume your normal activities. The key is to make sure the tendon is adequately healed before putting strain on it again with running or jumping. Otherwise, you could re-injure it and undo all healing that has taken place.
Prevention is best
To help prevent Achilles tendinitis, wear proper footwear for your sport or activity. In addition, gradually increase the time and intensity of workouts so your tendon doesn’t get strained from sudden overuse. Avoid the temptation to “up the ante” too quickly, or you could end up with an injury that sets you back several weeks or more.
Do you have foot pain or symptoms of Achilles tendinitis? Make an appointment with Kansas City Foot Specialists to get your problem addressed and get on the path to healing as quickly as possible.