Do you experience pain, achiness and stiffness in the upper back part of your heel up to your calf muscle? If so, you may be dealing with a case of Achilles tendonitis. At Texas Foot Specialists this is a condition we see fairly often in both serious athletes and “weekend warriors.”
What’s Behind the Pain?
Your Achilles tendon connects the base of your calf muscle to your heel bone. Also known as your heel cord, this tendon is what helps lift your heel off the ground and it is essential to the motion your foot makes when you walk. Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury. When sudden and increased strain is put on this area of the foot inflammation occurs, causing the pain and other symptoms. Laborers, construction workers, landscapers and anyone whose job is very physical often experience this disorder. It also commonly occurs when the intensity or duration of an exercise or conditioning activity increases too quickly.
Continued repetitive stress to the Achilles tendon can result in micro tears and chronic tendonitis. Our podiatrists, Dr. Bruce Miller and Dr. Gregory Mangum, will examine your foot and specifically evaluate your Achilles tendon and its range of motion. Depending on the extent of the condition, they may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- Immobilization—if the flare up is severe or there is some concern about injury, the foot doctor may recommend a cast or removable walking boot to allow the Achilles tendon to rest and heal.
- Medications and Icing—nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and icing may help relieve pain, swelling and inflammation.
- Physical therapy—this can help strengthen muscles and provide stretches to prevent further irritation.
- Night splints—to help the Achilles tendon remained stretched while you sleep.
- Custom orthotics—in some instances gait abnormalities or overpronation may be aggravating the tendon. Orthotic devices for your shoes can help correct these issues.
Left untreated, Achilles tendonitis can develop into a serious and chronic problem requiring more intense treatment or even surgery. If you are suffering from continued pain, tenderness and stiffness in your Achilles tendon contact our Sugar Land (281-242-4448), Pasadena (281-991-0600) or Houston (713-664-6677) office for an appointment sooner rather than later.