Have you noticed when you’re walking or exercising that you have pain on the back of your lower leg down near the heel of your foot? If so you could be dealing with Achilles tendinitis. This condition is common for those who overuse the foot or after years of walking/running or exercising. This is a degenerative condition that can come on with age or if you’ve injured your leg. Take a look at what causes Achilles tendinitis and what the symptoms and treatment options you have available.
There are two types of this tendinitis, noninsertional and insertional. In the first type, it is common in those of the younger generation that are more active and it affects the middle of the tendon. This is where the fibers in the middle of the tendon have begun to breakdown after being torn.
Insertional Achilles Tendinitis affects the lower portion of the tendon itself and can happen to anyone at any age. Once the tendons have started to break or have been damaged, they can begin to calcify and become hard. This can also lead to bone spurs in the area as well.
The basic cause of this issue is repetitive stress to the area itself. This can happen because someone decides to push their body farther than they were ready to go. If you have very tight calf muscles and then begin an aggressive program of exercise, you can end up with this type of injury as well.
The symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis include things such as:
- Severe pain in the area the day after you’ve done your exercise program
- Presence of bone spurs
- Experiencing pain along the tendon when you’re exercising or using the ankle area a lot
- If you notice a thickening of the area
- Swelling that does not go away
Once you know that this type of tendinitis is what is causing your pain, there are several things you can try. Anti-inflammatory medications can help to reduce the swelling, as well as icing the area to relieve the pain and puffiness. Be sure to get plenty of rest and get off your ankle for an extended period of time to allow the tendon to heal and relax.
Reduce the amount of stress put on your tendon by doing calf stretches each day. Physical therapy and learning how to strengthen the area as well can help you to relieve the pain. Injections and shoe lifts can also help to reduce the pain in the area.
Finally, there are surgical options that should be sought as a last resort to your tendonitis. Discuss these options with your doctor to find out what is right for your situation.