What is Achilles Tendinitis?
The Achilles tendon is a really important structure of the foot and is very important in daily activity like walking, running, playing sports. It is unfortunately also the most commonly injured tendon in the foot. When injured, the Achilles tendon can create redness, swelling, and tenderness behind your ankle and calves. When left untreated, an Achilles tendon can easily go from a small partial tear to a complete rupture. This is why it is essential to have your Achilles tendon looked at if you are experiencing any pain in this area.
What causes Achilles tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis is caused by excessive stretching of the Achilles tendon. This can happen for many reasons, such as flat feet, cavus feet, an abnormal way of walking, an improper way of running, an ankle sprain, weight gain etc. Inflammation will happen with the overuse and tearing of the Achilles tendon. When left untreated, inflammation in the Achilles tendon can worsen and completely rupture the tendon.
How to treat Achilles tendinitis?
Your podiatrist is trained to help relieve you from Achilles tendinitis by first determining what is causing your problem and how to solve it.
1. Visualizing the injury
Using ultrasound technology, your podiatrist can visualize and measure the extent of the damage done to your Achilles tendon, no matter if it is a recent or old injury. Your podiatrist can hereby determine if your Achilles tendon presents any signs of tearing or rupturing.
2. Reduce your Achilles tendon pain
Your podiatrist can prescribe some anti-inflammatory medication according to your medical condition in order to lower the level of inflammation of your Achilles tendonitis.
3. Providing support to your Achilles tendonitis
Your Achilles tendon needs support in order to heal better, but it also needs support in order to not suffer from another injury. Your podiatrist can do that by prescribing an adapted ankle support or by prescribing a custom-made plantar orthotic to help your Achilles tendon function better after your injury. Your podiatrist can also utilize sport tapping in order to immobilize your ankle and reduce your Achilles tendon pain.
4. Strengthening your Achilles tendon
In order to heal from an Achilles tendonitis, you need to properly stretch and strengthen your tendon. Your podiatrist can prescribe you an adapted program of stretches and strengthening exercises adapted to you and the sport you are practicing.
How to treat Achilles tendonitis at home?
While waiting for your podiatric consultation, you can relieve your pain at home by following these steps:
Take some rest
Reduce or stop if possible the activity that has caused your injury. Your Achilles tendon cannot heal if you continue to exercise.
Ice your Achilles tendon
Reduce the inflammation in your Achilles tendon by applying an ice bag two or three times a day for 5-15 minutes.
Wear proper shoes
Wear shoes that have better support around the foot. Stay away from shoes that run too high behind your ankle, in order to prevent friction around the Achilles tendon. Choose shoes that have a slight heel in order to not overstretch your Achilles tendon. Refrain from walking barefoot.