The achilles tendon is a large tendon on the back of your calf that connects your calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) to your heel bone (calcaneous). The Achilles tendon takes the force generated by the calf muscles and allows you to stand up on your toes, push off during running or stair climbing and other activities which require strong plantar-flexion of the ankle(pushing the toes down).
Now any time you see the suffix -itis on the back of a word you know it refers to inflammation or irritation. So Achilles Tendonitis is inflammation or irritation of the achilles tendon. This can occur due to overuse, improper technique, and is more common in the setting of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, predisposing muscle tightness and foot over-pronation.
Achilles Tendonitis commonly feels like a tight, pulling sensation on the back of your heel. It can be painful and may even be associated with some swelling in the achilles tendon itself.
First things first! Evaluate your training habits, stretching regimen and other predisposing factors. Did you suddenly increase your training runs or time on the tennis court or other activity? Do you have flat feet and don’t wear insoles? Do you weigh more than your ideal body weight? Are your calves tight? Do you have abnormal blood sugars? If you said yes to any of these, then you know some good places to start while doing the old RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) to the calf and achilles. Of course rest and a gentle stretching program for a short while is okay, but if you continue to have persistent symptoms despite modifying your activities you should go chat with a well informed sports doc’ who can help get a plan of treatment together for you. There is a lot that can be done including rehabilitation programs, acupuncture, massage, topical medications and the like.
To learn more about achilles tendonitis or to schedule a consultation contact us.