The numerous health benefits associated with running make it a popular exercise for people who want to have a healthy lifestyle. But overdoing it can lead to various leg injuries such as Achilles tendonitis.
Achilles tendonitis occurs when the Achilles tendon, which is the thick tissue that links the calf muscles to your heel bone, is overused. People who play sports that involve running and jumping are more likely to experience this injury.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis
People who have Achilles tendonitis may experience a mild ache in the back of their leg or above the heel after playing sports or exercising. The pain can become worse after you walk up a flight of stairs, run, or jog.
The area could feel stiff or sensitive in the mornings, and these symptoms lessen as you move around normally during the day. If it is left untreated, however, this overuse injury could worsen over time – leading to tendon tears (ruptures) and affecting how you walk.
Are There Effective Treatments?
Several treatments for Achilles tendonitis can help in relieving this overuse injury and stopping it from developing further – and encouraging the inflammation to heal. Your doctor may recommend the following treatment methods:
It is essential to stretch your calf muscles and Achilles tendon before and after exercising. This can help maintain the flexibility along your lower leg and prevent the occurrence of Achilles tendonitis.
Strengthening Your Calf Muscles
You should also do strengthening exercises for your calf muscles. By doing so, your calf and Achilles tendon can better handle the impact they encounter during your activities.
If you are beginning a new exercise regimen, start with more gentle exercises. Once you are stronger, you can gradually increase the duration and intensity of your training.
Wearing the Right Shoes
Choosing the proper footwear is also an essential step in treating or preventing Achilles tendonitis. They must provide adequate cushioning for your heel and firm arch support.
Using the RICE Method
The RICE method involves the following steps:
Avoid putting too much pressure or impact on your tendon until the pain subsides. It can heal on its own as long as there isn’t a complete tear in the tendon; thus, avoiding pressure can help it improve more quickly.
Place an ice pack, wrapped in a towel, on your tendon for 15 to 20 minutes to minimize the inflammation in the area. Be sure that the skin does not get too cold in order to avoid frostbite. Remove the ice pack frequently and give the area breaks.
Wrap a bandage around your tendon to keep therapeutic pressure on the area. Compression can help to minimize inflammation. However, ensure that your dressing is not too tight in order to keep your blood flowing normally.
Raise your foot as high as your chest so the blood can flow to the heart. By doing so, you can help keep the swelling around your tendon down.
Your doctor may also recommend or prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help reduce the pain and swelling around the inflamed tendon.
When Achilles tendonitis is left untreated, it could result in an Achilles tendon rupture – which is a partial or total tear of the tendon. This can cause severe pain in your heel and the inability to walk properly, if at all. Your podiatrist will explain your treatment options; undergoing surgery may be your best and most effective option.
Podiatry in San Antonio
Overusing or overexerting your legs and feet can damage their muscles and tendons, and it may eventually lead to Achilles tendonitis. When left untreated, the pain may worsen and lead to Achilles rupture – so it is best to seek medical treatment to keep your feet healthy.
If you want the best podiatry physicians here in Texas, our podiatrists at The Podiatry Group of South Texas can help you. Call us today at (210) 227-8700 or fill out our online request form to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you feel great with every step!