Achilles tendon links the calf muscles to the heel bone and goes down the back of the lower leg. In the event that this particular tendon is put under an excess strain, it may become inflamed. And when it is inflamed, then this will now be the time that it is classified as the Achilles tendinitis. This condition is so discomforting and known to cause so much pain. Thus having enough knowledge about the causes, symptoms as well as the treatments for Achilles tendinitis is quite significant. If you want to know all of these and more, feel free to give this article a read.
Achilles tendinitis: What is this condition?
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Basically, Achilles tendinitis is the tendinitis of non-other than, Achilles tendon. This means an swelling of the tendon, which may cause an extreme pain and discomfort for any individuals. What makes it very difficult for those who suffer from this condition is the position of the Achilles tendon in our foot. It makes it hard to sustain a normal way of life without curing the condition in a way or the other. Although there are some invasive procedures, which may help in fixing the problem in the Achilles tendon, this is still somewhat a high-risk part of the operation.
The Achilles tendinitis is actually an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon. The condition most commonly occurs to runners who suddenly have increased the duration and intensity of their runs. Furthermore, it is also common to middle-aged people who play certain sports, just like basketball or tennis, only after weekdays.
This inflammation of the tendon is actually a normal thing. This is since the inflammation is the body’s natural response to certain diseases or injuries. However, this often times cause irritation, pain, or swelling.
Most of the cases are curable with some simple treatments for Achilles tendinitis. But this must be under a doctor’s supervision. Some of the self-care strategies are commonly necessary for preventing recurring episodes. More serious cases of the condition may lead to tendon ruptures, which may require a surgical operation.
Types of Achilles Tendinitis
There are two different types of Achilles tendinitis, and they are based on which part of the tendon is inflamed.
- Insertional Achilles tendinitis: this involves the lower part of the heel, where the tendon attached itself to the heel bone.
- Non-insertional Achilles tendinitis: in this type of Achilles tendinitis, the fibers in the middle part of the tendon begin to degenerate, thicken, and swell. Furthermore, this is more common to younger and more active people.
Causes of Achilles Tendinitis
Here are some of the most common causes of Achilles tendinitis:
- Sudden intense physical activity like sprinting to reach the finish line
- The calf muscle has little flexibility or is injured, thus putting more strain into the Achilles tendon
- Running on uneven or hard surfaces
- Introducing stair climbing or hill running to exercise routine prematurely
- Increasing the intensity of the exercise quickly
- Not warming up appropriately before the exercise
- Using worn out or incorrect shoes while exercising or running.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis
The main symptom of the Achilles tendinitis is the gradual buildup of the pain, which becomes worse as the time goes by. Furthermore, the sufferer may also notice the following:
- Screeching of the Achilles tendon when moved or touched
- Swelling or bump formation of the Achilles tendon
- There is a greater pain in running fast, for a long period of time, or when climbing stairs
- Pain in the Achilles tendon while running after a couple of hours
- Slight pain in the back of the leg after running or having exercise that becomes more severe
- Stiff, weak, or slow feeling in the lower leg
- Soreness feeling of the Achilles tendon a few centimeters above where it meets the heel bone
Here are some factors that may contribute to increasing the risk of Achilles tendinitis:
- Medical conditions
- Training choices
- Physical conditions
Treatments for Achilles Tendinitis
The treatments for Achilles tendinitis mainly aims to relieve any pain and reduce the swelling. Furthermore, the choice if the treatments for Achilles tendinitis will depend on its severity and whether the patient is an athlete or not.
Here are some of the methods of treating the condition:
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy: high-energy shockwaves are being used in stimulating the healing process of the condition.
- Orthotic devices and compression bandages: some devices are beneficial for the recovery of the condition. These include shoe inserts and ankle supports.
- Steroid injections: various steroid injections like cortisone, may help in reducing the tendon swelling. However, it has also been connected with a great risk of rupture in the tendon.
- Pain relief: some NSAIDs like ibuprofen, may help in reducing the swelling and pain. But checking first with your doctor is a must.
- Elevating the foot: this helps in reducing the swelling of the Achilles tendinitis.
- Rest: this is beneficial in giving the tissue enough time to heal. Moreover, the time for the healing mainly depends on the severity of the condition.
- Ice pack: this will help in alleviating the inflammation and pain.
With the proper care, attention, and treatments, Achilles tendinitis will vanish in an instant.