Achilles tendonitis is one of the most common types of tendonitis in active people. The Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles of the leg to the foot, is easily overused. This tendon takes the brunt of any type of weight bearing exercise from walking to uphill climbing. Problems with the Achilles tendon can be disabling if not addressed quickly.
Common causes of Achilles tendonitis: The most common cause of Achilles tendonitis is from overuse. People who recently began jogging or walking may injure themselves if taking on too much exercise too soon. It can also happen when people who are already exercising regularly suddenly increase the intensity. For example, if someone suddenly added several miles to their jogging routine or someone who suddenly switched to jogging up hills more frequently. It can also happen with people who do little exercise during the week, then do a lot of exercise on the weekend.
Other contributors to Achilles tendonitis include:
Symptoms: The most common symptoms of Achilles tendonitis are:
See a doctor for an initial diagnosis and to make sure that the problem isn't serious enough to need surgery.
Prevention and treatment: If you suspect you might have tendonitis, stop doing exercises that exacerbate the condition. Switch to a lower impact exercise that takes the pressure off your feet such as swimming or bike riding. Exercising on a softer surface also helps. It's important to stop or change exercises as soon as the problem is noted. Continued overuse of the Achilles tendon will slow healing and puts you at a higher chance of permanent damage. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and swelling.
If the tendon has ruptured or is severely damaged, more drastic measures will need to be taken. These include steroid injections and surgery. Surgery is risky and healing after surgery can take several weeks or months before one is able to return to normal activities.
The Achilles tendon is a critical structure for walking and running and can be easily injured if one is not careful. The older you are, the more likely you are to injure this area. As soon as you notice pain in your heel, immediately address it. If do, you should be able to maintain full mobility without surgery or permanent injury. Talk to your doctor if you are having issues with your feet.
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