Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation and degeneration of the achilles tendon. This tendon is the large tendon located at the back of the lower leg and attached to the heel of the foot. It is essential in the process of walking as it helps to propel the body forward.
The pain associated with achilles tendonitis can come on gradually or be caused by some type of leg or foot trauma. Achilles tendonitis can cause lower leg or heel pain. The pain can be shooting, burning, or a dull ache. Achilles tendonitis should not be left untreated. Improper treatment may lead to a more severe injury, such as rupture or chronic weakening, which may require surgery.
Achilles tendonitis is aggravated by activities that repeatedly stress the tendon. In some cases prolonged periods of standing can cause it to act up. People with achilles tendonitis often complain of leg or heel pain after prolonged periods of inactivity, when they first get out of bed or when they first stand up after sitting for a while. Often the pain dissipates as the tendon warms up.
Achilles tendonitis has several causes; some are due to overuse from an increase in activity or a specific incident that overworked the tendon. Achilles tendonitis can also be brought on by severe pronation, where the arch of the foot collapses, adding stress to the achilles tendon.
Improper shoes can often cause achilles tendonitis. High heels that do not allow the tendon to fully extend can, over time, cause the tendon to shorten, making it vulnerable to being overly stretched and torn. Middle-aged weekend warriors are often good candidates for achilles tendonitis, as increased activity without proper stretching can overwork the tendon.
The best treatment for achilles tendonitis is preventative, stretching and warming up properly before starting an activity. A properly fit shoe, designed for the activity you will be engaged in, can help alleviate stress placed on the achilles tendon. Problems with foot biomechanics, such as a collapsed or flat arch, can also be treated with both proper footwear and a corrective arch support. At SHOES-n-FEET® we have a wide range of supportive shoes, for work or play, as well as the over-the-counter arch supports that your medical professional might recommend for achilles tendonitis.
Proper rest, accompanied by stretching and icing to reduce swelling, can help to heal an overworked achilles tendon. Physical therapy can also help to strengthen the tendon and help prevent future cases. Persistent pain should be examined by a foot specialist. To find one near you, contact your neighborhood SHOES-n-FEET for a referral.