Beating Achilles Tendonitis

One of the most common injuries that runners encounter is Achilles tendonitis. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, and also one of the most frequently used since it connects the calf muscles to the back of the heel bone. Every time you walk, run, jump, or tiptoe, you use the Achilles tendon. 

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury. When runners suddenly increase their intensity of running, or if the tendons are overworked without adequate rest and recovery in between, the injury can become aggravated. It can start as a dull ache after a workout, cause inflammation, swelling and stiffness, and increase to a sharp pains if the injury worsens. A severe case can even result in a ruptured tendon, which would require surgery. Other issues, such as heel spurs or flatfoot can increase the risk of developing Achilles tendonitis. 

As a runner or avid exerciser, Achilles tendonitis can really become a frustrating problem. Our foot doctors recommend the following prevention and self-care treatment options for beating Achilles tendonitis:

  • Suddenly increasing the intensity of your running or other exercise can cause excessive strain on the tendon. Make sure you challenge yourself gradually. 
  • Use supportive sneakers with good arch support and heel cupping so that you don’t have too much tension on the Achilles tendon. 
  • Stretch and strengthen your ankle to increase agility and conditioning. 
  • When you begin to feel strain on your Achilles tendon, use the RICE method to relieve symptoms: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Without adequate rest, the tendon can become overworked and cause more damage. 
  • For more severe tendonitis, our podiatrists may recommend that you rest and protect the tendon by immobilizing it while it recovers. For excessive pain, you may also want to take over the counter NSAIDs for relief. 
  • Our podiatrists may also recommend physical therapy exercises to promote healing. Strengthening muscles and ligaments around the Achilles tendon can help to stabilize a weakened Achilles tendon. 
  • Orthotic devices, shoes, or inserts can help to relieve strain on the tendon and reduce impact on the heel. 
  • Long-term pain or a ruptured Achilles tendon can require surgery – our podiatrists can help you determine if this is necessary. 

Remember that pain should not be a part of your exercise routine. Soreness is fine, but aches and pains usually indicate a problem, so it’s best to address them sooner than later. If you suspect a problem in your Achilles tendon, make an appointment with us at PerfectFeetCare Podiatry Centers. Our podiatrists, Dr. Juliette Perez and Dr. Katherine Machado will properly diagnose the issues and find the right treatment for you. Call us at our Miami (305-225-4277) or Hialeah (305-246-7437) offices today!