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WHAT IS ACHILLES TENDINITIS?

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and is used when you walk, run, and jump.

Although the Achilles tendon can withstand great stresses from running and jumping, it is also prone to tendinitis, a condition associated with overuse and degeneration.

Achilles tendinitis is typically not related to a specific injury. The problem results from repetitive stress to the tendon. This often happens when we push our bodies to do too much, too soon, but other factors can make it more likely to develop tendinitis, including:


WHAT FACTORS MAY LEAD TO ACHILLES TENDINITIS?
  • Sudden increase in the amount or intensity of exercise activity--for example, increasing the distance you run every day by a few miles without giving your body a chance to adjust to the new distance
  • Tight calf muscles—Having tight calf muscles and suddenly starting an aggressive exercise program can put extra stress on the Achilles tendon
  • Bone spur—Extra bone growth where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone can rub against the tendon and cause pain

SYMPTOMS OF ACHILLES TENDINITIS

  • Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon in the morning
  • Pain along the tendon or back of the heel that worsens with activity
  • Severe pain the day after exercising
  • Thickening of the tendon
  • Bone spur (insertional tendinitis)
  • Swelling that is present all the time and gets worse throughout the day with activity
  • If you have experienced a sudden "pop" in the back of your calf or heel, you may have ruptured (torn) your Achilles tendon. See your doctor immediately if you think you may have torn your tendon.
  • Shooting burning pain behind the heel
  • Redness, swelling and warmth behind the heel

TREATMENT FOR ACHILLES TENDINITIS

There are many different treatment options for Achilles Tendinitis/Bursitis. For less severe cases, conservative treatment includes taking anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate pain, applying ice packs to the back of your heel, and slowly stretching and exercising your feet to re-strengthen the tissue.and Addressing poor foot biomechanics with custom foot orthoses devices to overcome issues such as over-pronation also helps manage your Achilles Tendinitis.

For more severe cases however, Dr. Cavazos has had great success with Percutaneous Cryotherapy (Cryoplantalis), a minimally invasive painless procedure that stimulates your own body's inflammatory response to repair and regenerate injury to the Achilles Tendon allowing you to overcome the chronic pain caused by Achilles Tendinitis.

No matter what the case may be however, seeking the immediate care of your podiatrist is the first and best step to recovery. Even the slightest amount of heel pain could be the first stages of Achilles Tendinitis and the initial onset of tearing and overstretching of that band of tissue. On top of this, because the tearing of this tissue can be compounded if it remains ignored, it could become a more severe case than it needs to be. The solution to this is early detection and early treatment, so be sure to talk to your podiatrist about the possibilities of Achilles Tendinitis if you’re experiencing Heel Pain.