23 Apr Achilles Tendonitis Treatment in Phoenix AZ
Achilles tendinitis is a condition affecting the band of tissue that connects the calf muscles in the back of the lower part of the leg to the heel bone. Called the Achilles tendon, inflammation of the band of tissue can lead to pain and stiffness. While the true incidence of Achilles tendinitis is unknown, research shows that it occurs in around 12% runners, 9% dancers, 5% Gymnasts, 2% Tennis players, and 1% of football players. Altogether, the disease affects around 1 million U.S. athletes each year.
What symptoms occur with Achilles tendinitis?
The band of tissue connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone may become stiff, tender, and even painful. In the Achilles tendon, and surrounding parts of the foot and leg, pain is especially worse in the morning or after hours of sleep. The feelings associated with the Achilles tendon can be mild to moderate and even severe if left untreated.
The pain usually begins as a mild type of ache in the back of the lower leg and moves towards the heel, which is worse right after running or participating in sports. Climbing or running for a prolonged time may cause a more severe type of pain. Home treatments may help with most cases of Achilles tendinitis. In more severe cases, it may require surgical care due to ruptures (tendon tears).
What causes Achilles tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis may occur from many activities including running, basketball, tennis, and almost any sport or activity where duration or intensity has been increased suddenly. Achilles tendinitis also may present a problem for people who are participating in sports part-time especially as they age.
The condition is caused by intense or repetitive strain on the Achilles tendon. The band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone is used when walking, running, pushing, or jumping upwards with your foot. Age is another cause of this condition, as the Achilles tendon weakens with use and over time, making the tendon more vulnerable to injury. Weekend sports or increasing a particular activity intensity may cause inflammation or make this condition worse.
Who is at risk for Achilles tendinitis?
Risk factors for Achilles tendinitis include:
- Having flat arches
- Obesity and/or tight calf muscles
- Being male – Men are affected more often than women.
- Aging – As we age, tendons get weaker.
- Weather conditions – Cold weather is harder on the tendons.
- Older shoes/worn out shoes
- Exercising on uneven ground or hills
- Medical conditions – Includes high blood pressure and/or psoriasis pose a higher risk.
- Certain medications – Antibiotics (fluoroquinolones) may propose a problem.
How is Achilles tendinitis diagnosed?
The doctor will most likely check to see if there is any swelling, tenderness, and pain of the leg by lightly pressing on the affected area. He/she will also check the reflexes, flexibility, alignment, and maneuverability of the foot and ankle. The doctor may use the following during the examination:
- X-rays, to rule out other conditions.
- Ultrasound, which uses sound waves to check soft tissues.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which uses radio waves and a strong magnet to produce a more detailed image of the tendon.
Tell your doctor:
- If the pain appeared gradually or suddenly.
- Which activities make the condition worse.
- If symptoms are worse during the day or evening.
- The types of shoes you wear.
- Names of all medications or vitamin supplements you are taking.
What are the treatments of Achilles tendinitis?
Depending on the severity of your condition, treatment for Achilles tendinitis includes:
- Rest – Avoid exercise for days, but may do lighter exercise.
- Ice – Use up to 15 minutes several times a day for swelling and pain.
- Compression – Involves use of an elastic bandage or wrap to reduce swelling.
- Elevation – During the day raise your foot above the heart to reduce swelling.
- Special shoes – Cushioning for your heel and a firm supportive arch.
- Increase activities slowly.
- Always stretch calf muscles.
- Take breaks when exercising especially when climbing or running up a hill.
- Warm up before activity, and rest if you feel any pain.
- Do strengthening exercises for calf muscles.
- Orthotics – custom or off the shelf
- Injections – may include cortisone, PRP therapy or stem cell therapy
- Surgery – this may include debridement and removal of the diseased tissue.
Oasis Foot and Ankle is the top podiatry practice in Phoenix and Scottsdale, offering comprehensive treatment options for achilles tendonitis. Conservative and surgical treatments are offered, with over 90% of patients obtaining excellent relief. Most insurance is offered, call today!
Albers D, Hoke B. Techniques in Achilles tendon rehabilitation. Tech Foot Ankle Surg. 2003. 2(3):208-19.
Asplund CA, Best TM. Achilles tendon disorders. BMJ. 2013 Mar 12. 346:f1262