Achilles Tendonitis & Treatment

 

The Achilles tendon is a strip of tissue located along the back side of the lower leg, connecting the calf muscle and the heel bone at the back of the foot. Essential for jumping, running, walking, and rising on the toes, the Achilles tendon allows you to lift your heel up from the ground. When the tendon becomes inflamed, the resulting condition, known as Achilles tendonitis, alternatively spelled Achilles tendinitis, occurs.

 

  1. Symptoms

  2. Common symptoms of an inflamed Achilles tendon include mild aching or pain in the area of the tendon while walking; general soreness or stiffness in the tendon immediately after resting or sleeping, which decreases with activity; and swelling of the tendon accompanied by a bump where damaged tissue is. Signs frequently emerge slowly, although intense pain and an inability to walk properly may indicate the Achilles tendon has ruptured or broken, a condition that requires prompt medical attention.

    Causes

  3. Achilles tendonitis most often results from excessive stress on the tendon due to inadequate conditioning for a certain activity (for example, athletes with insufficient strength or flexibility for a particular sport) or excessive or premature use of the tendon (for instance, people overdoing a new exercise regimen). An infection or injury near the tendon can also damage tissue and cause tendonitis. Moreover, individuals who have flattened arches are at risk if they don't wear shoes with enough support. This is largely because walking places undue strain on the heel and Achilles tendon.

    Medical Treatment

  4. Medical treatment of Achilles tendonitis usually involves orthotic devices, physical therapy, or surgery. Inserting an orthotic device in shoes reduces stress on the tendon by raising the heel, while heel cups and pads cushion the heel, and a leg splint maintains the tendon in a stretched position during sleep. Casts, crutches, or special boots facilitate healing in severe cases by immobilizing the affected leg and decreasing strain on the heel and tendon.

    Physical therapy includes strengthening and stretching techniques, massages, and strategies for improved leg movement while exercising. If none of the previous treatments  reduce inflammation within several weeks, surgery may be necessary to remove inflamed tissue.

    Self-Care Treatments

  5. Techniques for treating Achilles tendonitis that don't require a doctor include avoiding activities that exacerbate the inflammation. Yet, stretching the tendon and participating in low-impact exercises, like riding a bicycle, are fine as they don't strain the affected area and can prevent tendon stiffness.

    Holding ice or ice packs on the inflamed area for 20 minutes or less throughout the day can reduce both pain and swelling. Using elastic bandages, wraps, or other material to compress the inflamed area can also decrease swelling, as can elevating the relevant ankle to a height above your heart, particularly during sleep.

    Over-the-Counter Drugs

  6. Another option for treating Achilles tendonitis independently is taking one of several drugs available at many stores. acetaminophine , aspirin, or ibuprofen can all help reduce associated pain. However, using the last two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) medications for more than ten days or in high doses isn't advised due to potential complications like ulcers



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