If you’ve ever been diagnosed with Achilles Tendon injury, then you know how painful it can be. Achilles Tendonitis is an inflammatory condition that results from straining your tendon. Achilles tendon strain typically develops during participation in sports that involve frequent starts and stops, jumping, and running. However, any type of activity involving rough landing on your heels can ultimately result in this condition. It can also affect people with natural abnormalities like bowlegs, and Haglund’s deformity.
Keep on reading to discover the six Achilles Tendonitis facts you should know about.
1. Symptoms start as a minor ache
Some people may believe that this illness leads to acute heel pain from the start. However, it begins mildly and gradually worsens, just as other tendon injuries. Achilles Tendonitis typically begins with a minor soreness above your heel or in the back of your leg. These symptoms usually appear when you’re jogging or participating in aggressive sports. If you run daily, the ache will gradually get worse. Stair climbing might aggravate the ache. The tenderness and stiffness may also occur, and you may consider them to be simple muscle tension from warming up.
2. Your Achilles Tendon weakens with time
As you get older, your Achilles Tendon will begin to wear out. If you start dancing after the age of 50 or begin running or participating in other sports later in life, you’re more likely to sustain an injury. You'll need to take breaks to prevent injuring yourself. If the discomfort in your heels becomes unbearable, book an appointment with a reputable foot specialist right away.
3. Many non-invasive treatments exist
Achilles Tendonitis surgery is performed as a last resort in the most serious cases. Luckily, there are a variety of non-invasive treatments that can help relieve your symptoms. Resting and applying cold compresses on your heel are the most popular treatments for mild cases of Achilles Tendon injury. Those overexerting themselves are the ones who suffer from heel tendon injuries. Resting for a long period (or doing low-impact workouts) can be highly beneficial in such cases.
4. MRI scans don’t always help diagnose Achilles Tendonitis
A scan rarely shows your doctor what they need to know about your Achilles Tendon. It typically indicates things that bear no relation to your injury and doesn’t change even when your symptoms subside. Though MRI scans can help diagnose tendinopathy, they fail to indicate pain or the amount of load your heals can sustain. That’s why they often make an injury appear worse and aren’t commonly used compared to other diagnosing methods for heel injuries.
5. A foot doctor can identify signs of Achilles Tendon injury
Your foot specialist will examine your foot for physical indicators of this condition during your appointment. There are a variety of physical symptoms, the most common of which is swelling at the back of your heel. Bone spurs on the bottom section of your tendon or the trouble flexing your foot properly are further indicators.
6. Prevention involves focusing on proper training and footwear
To avoid Achilles Tendonitis, make sure the shoes you're wearing provide proper arch support. Even something as simple as good heel cushioning helps prevent dangerous injury. If you’re still running daily, take a break from hill running for a bit to prevent relapses. Stretching your Achilles tendon and calf muscles before exercise is also a good idea. Simply strengthening your calf muscles will help reinforce the stress you put on your tendon while doing any physical activity.
The bottom line
If you experience pain and discomfort in your heel and suspect Achilles Tendonitis to be the cause, consult an experienced foot doctor to get a precise diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Your specialist may recommend you doing strengthening exercises, undergoing shock therapy, and wearing special shoe inserts and orthotic footwear. If traditional treatment fails to improve your symptoms, you may be recommended to undergo surgery. Your foot doctor can also create a list of preventative measures to help you avoid recurring heel pain.