What is Achilles tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis causes inflammation and degeneration of the Achilles tendon.
The Achilles tendon is the large tendon in the back of the leg that inserts into the heel. The pain caused by Achilles tendonitis can develop gradually without a history of trauma. The pain can be a shooting pain, burning pain, or even an extremely piercing pain. Achilles tendonitis should not be left untreated due to the danger that the tendon can become weak and ruptured.
Achilles tendonitis is aggravated by activities that repeatedly stress the tendon, causing inflammation. In some cases even prolonged periods of standing can cause symptoms. It is a common problem often experienced by athletes, particularly distance runners. Achilles tendonitis is a difficult injury to treat in athletes due to their high level of activity and reluctance to stop or slow their training.
Individuals who suffer from Achilles tendonitis often complain that their first steps out of bed in the morning are extremely painful. Another common complaint is pain when walking after long periods of sitting. This pain often lessens with activity.
What causes Achilles tendonitis?
Several factors can cause Achilles tendonitis. The most common cause is overpronation. Overpronation occurs in the walking process, when the arch collapses upon weight bearing, adding stress on the Achilles tendon.
Other factors that lead to Achilles tendonitis are improper shoe selection, inadequate stretching prior to athletic activity, a short Achilles tendon, direct trauma (injury) to the tendon, and heel bone deformity.
How do you treat and prevent Achilles tendonitis?
Athletes, particularly runners, should incorporate a thorough stretching program to properly warm up the muscles. They should decrease their walking or running distance, apply ice after activity, and avoid uphill climbs. Athletes should use an orthotic device, heel cup, or heel cradle for extra support.
A heel cup or heel cradle elevates the heel to reduce stress and pressure on the Achilles tendon. The device should be made with lightweight, shock absorbing materials. An orthotic device can be used to control overpronation, support the longitudinal arch, and reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.
If the problem persists, consult your doctor. Your Fit Specialist at Stan’s will advise you on appropriate footwear.
Courtesy of foot.com