Achilles Tendinitis


Overview

Achilles tendonitis is a condition of the largest tendon in the body. The achilles tendon is located on the back of your leg and connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. In conjunction with the calf muscles it is used when you walk, run, climb stairs, jump, and stand on your tip toes. Although the Achilles tendon can withstand great stresses from running and jumping, it is also prone to tendinitis, a condition associated with overuse and degeneration.

Condition

Achilles tendinitis is a common musculoskeletal disorder that affects both athletes as well a individuals with lower activity rates. Traumas as well as overuse are common causes of injury to the achilles tendon.

Symptoms & Signs

Common symptoms of Achilles tendinitis may include pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon in the morning with first steps as well as pain when exercising. Swelling or thickening of tendon may also be noted.

Treatment

Rest, reduction of aggravating activities and identifying biomechanical factors are important steps in reduction of symptoms and recovery. Using proper footwear, addressing flexibility issues and short term elevation of the heel can help alleviate symptoms.

Symptoms & Cause

Pain and discomfort can be noted at various levels of the achilles tendon from low down at the insertion into the heel to a few cm higher towards the transition into muscle. There may be localized swelling or thickening at the irritated point. Movement of the foot upwards and downwards at the ankle may cause pain in the tendon. Stiffness in the ankle and tendon region may increase after a nights rest or after sitting for a long period of time. Athletic activities may still be possible as the tendon may feel better after warming up, but there may be severe pain in the tendon the day after activity.

Pedorthic Treatment

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia, a band of tough tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes, becomes irritated or inflamed. Heel pain which is often worst in the morning when getting out of bed or getting up from rest, is the most common symptom. Arch pain may also be present in some individuals.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis includes:

  • Rest / activity modification
  • Calf and foot muscle stretches and exercises
  • Medication recommended by your physician
  • Shoes with a good shank and a cushioned sole
  • Arch supports or if required custom foot orthotics
  • Tape for support or pain relief such as Kinesio tape
  • Physiotherapy

If you are experiencing foot pain or discomfort, you should consult your physician for a proper diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan.

 

Your doctor may refer you to  OKAPED’s to see a Canadian Certified Pedorthist for Pedorthic management of your foot pain. This may include orthopaedic footwear, shoe selection guidance, orthotics and/or foot related products such as a metatarsal pad. If you know your condition and want to learn about new products and treatments please give us a call.

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