What is Achilles Tendonitis?
When your achilles tendon has sustained damage and inflammation has occurred as a result, this is known as Achilles tendonitis. If you pinch the back of your leg just above the back of your heel, that’s your Achilles tendon you’re feeling. (If this pinching hurts, that’s a good indicator that either the Achilles tendon or a surrounding structure has been damaged!). Your Achilles tendon plays a major role in walking and helping you lift your heel off the ground, so proper care and management of any pain and injuries is very important.
What causes Achilles Tendonitis?
Any activities that overuse and strain the tendon can lead to it becoming damaged and inflamed. It occurs more frequently in sports that have quick transitions between standing still and moving quickly, like in basketball or rugby. The load on the achilles tendon can be exacerbated by:
- Faulty foot posture and biomechanics
- Improper footwear
- Long periods on your feet
- Tightness in the Achilles tendon itself and surrounding musculature
What does it feel like?
Pain is located at the back of the heel and can range from a mild discomfort/aching to intense pain that can radiate up the lower leg. The pain is exacerbated by activities that engage the Achilles tendon such as running or pushing your foot off the ground. Rest helps to alleviate the pain. Pinching the tendon around the heel is often painful.
The more intense the pain, the greater the likelihood that there may be a tear in the tendon and in the worst of cases, the tendon may rupture completely.
What should I do?
Because this condition can last for years and the tendon may degenerate with inadequate care, a consultation with your Podiatrist is the number one step. Here at South Burnett Podiatry, we start with a thorough tailored examination to assess the extent of your damage. It’s important to identify where along the Achilles tendon the damage has occurred, and if there’s a chance that it has progressed to a tear - or even a rupture. From here, we’ll be able to give you an estimate of how long the injury should take to heal.
We equip you with everything you need to know to ensure you’re not accidentally causing further damage and are helping your tendon heal in the fastest time possible. If Achilles Tendonitis is not treated, the condition could worsen to Achilles Tendinopathy, which is the degeneration of the tendon and a lot more challenging to overcome.
What’s the end result? Can my pain go away completely?
Absolutely. With appropriate and timely care, you can be back to being active, mobile and doing the things you love with no pain and a regular, strong Achilles tendon.
Will the pain come back?
Generally speaking, yes the pain can come back if the Achilles tendon gets re-injured. However, at South Burnett Podiatry, one of our key focuses is to not only treat the tendon but to identify the underlying reason and cause for the damage. Knowing WHY it happened means we can address that and put the best measures in place to greatly reduce the likelihood of it happening again so you can do the activities you love without worrying!