You may understand the freedom of the open road, but do you ever take for granted your ability to walk or run on it? We don’t often pay attention to the mechanics involved in walking or running until the machine breaks down. The Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona understand the importance of caring for the feet and ankles. We want you to continue to experience the joys of mobility and this means caring for your Achilles tendon.
Common Achilles tendon injuries include tendinitis, as well as more serious tendon tearing known as an Achilles tendon rupture.
When pain strikes from the back of the calf muscle to the bottom of the heel bone, your Achilles tendon is in need of podiatric care. This band of tissue is responsible for our ability to walk, run, and jump. Grab the back of your ankle and point your toes up and down; you can feel it.
When this tendon is injured it becomes swollen and painful. Too much force on the tendon can even make it tear or rupture completely. This type of injury is referred to as tendonitis.
What Are The Causes?
Most commonly the injury is found in active individuals who participate in sports such as baseball, basketball, dance, football, gymnastics, running, softball, tennis, and volleyball. It is most likely a result of abrupt, tense, starting movements, much like when a sprinter begins a race.
Other causes include:
- Not stretching enough before exercise
- Sudden increase in activity level
- Wearing high heels
- Flat feet, fallen arches, and overpronation
- Muscles and tendons that are too tight
What Are The Symptoms?
When the Achilles tendon becomes injured you will experience pain along the back of your ankle, just above the heel and extending to the back of the calf muscle. Pain is heightened when the ankle is stretched or the individual stands on their toes. Depending on the severity of your tendinitis, pain varies from mild to severe. Without treatment, symptoms worsen over time.
If you’ve strained this band, you may be experiencing one or more of the following:
- Difficulty flexing and pointing the toes
- Hearing a popping noise at the point of injury
What Are The Treatment Options?
If the injury that you have sustained is mild enough, it will heal on its own. During this healing process, we recommend rest and elevation for the affected leg. Avoid placing weight on the foot, and ice the leg for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours until the pain is gone. They may have you take anti-inflammatory painkillers such as Advil, Aleve, or Motrin to decrease the amount of pain and swelling. When the ankle is mobile enough, partake in stretching exercises recommended by your podiatric doctor.
These techniques will typically alleviate the pain; however, in severe cases the Achilles tendon may require surgery. Surgical procedures repair the tendon or remove excess tissue, and a cast is required for 6 to 10 weeks.
If your Achilles tendon has been causing you pain, contact the Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona today! We’re more than happy to help you on your way to recovery.