Common among running athletes, Achilles tendinitis is a condition that results in heel pain. The calf muscles connect to the calcaneus by way of the Achilles tendon. With running, these muscles assist with the lift-off phase of the gait. Over time with repetitive running, the tendon’s fatty areolar tissue around it becomes inflamed, which is called Achilles tendinitis.
What are the signs and symptoms of Achilles tendinitis?
The main symptom of Achilles tendinitis is pain at the back of the heel. This pain gradually increases after you start exercising, but will lessen as the exercise continues. The main symptom of Achilles tendinitis is pain at the heel region, which is most prominent two to four centimeters above the insertion site (watershed zone). The blood supply area of the tendon is most susceptible to tendinitis. Patients will report pain after walking first thing in the morning, or when they have been sitting for long times. Also, the pain occurs while running, jumping, or exercising.
What is the difference between tendinitis and a tear?
A tear to the tendon is the result of a sudden forceful direction change when running, and it is described as being struck in the back of the foot and calf with a baseball bat. With tendinitis of the Achilles, there is no fiber tearing, only inflammation.
Who suffers from Achilles tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis is likely to affect those who play sports that require alot of jumping, running, and direction change are more likely to suffer from Achilles tendinitis and tendon injuries. The excessive turning and moving of the foot and ankle causes strain, inflammation, and small tearing of fibers. Sporting activities that can lead to tendinitis include running, cycling, walking, football, basketball, and tennis.
What causes Achilles tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis is caused by lack of conditioning, overuse, overtraining, a high arch, flat feet, or not resting properly. If the tendon muscles become weak, the tendon is more likely to rupture and be injured. Excessive training is associated with doing too much exercise and placing too much strain on the tendon.
The doctor will examine the Achilles tendon for inflammation by squeezing it between the fingers. With complete tears, there will be sudden and severe pain, inability to walk, and a notable defect along the tendon. With tendinitis, the area will be tender.
How is Achilles tendinitis treated at pain clinics in Loveland, Greeley and Boulder CO?
The treatment for an inflamed Achilles tendon involves ice, stretching exercises, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS). Also, a heel lift is used in shoes to relieve tension from the tendon. Athletes and those who exercise a lot are urged to rest and avoid uphill and downhill running until the tendon is no longer sore and painful. For some patients crutches or an immobilizer is used to allow complete rest to the foot and heel region.
The latest regenerative medicine treatments with platelet rich plasma therapy or stem cells typically helps patients avoid the need for surgery while repairing the injury.
How can I prevent Achilles tendinitis?
There are a number of things you can do to prevent Achilles tendinitis. First, warm up before exercising to get your body ready for activity. Also, strengthen and stretch the muscles and tendons. Also, buy a good pair of shoes to help keep the ankle stable and ones that offer adequate cushioning and support for the foot.