Many patients come to us with heel pain. At our podiatric offices, we treat different kinds of heel pain in a number of ways. Achilles tendinitis is one of the more common causes of heel pain and many people describe it as pain in the back of the heel. Since this condition is a form of tendinitis, patients mostly notice that the back of their heel is inflamed.
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body. It is also one of the most important and most used parts of the body. It is essential for walking, running, jumping or even just an extension of the foot. It is for this reason that Achilles tendinitis can affect anyone who is constantly putting stress on his or her foot. Athletes are particularly at risk.
Tendinitis most often occurs when a tendon is over used. As the foot extends the Achilles tendon engages the calf muscles. The calf muscle generates force, which is transferred to the foot via this tendon. As this action repeats the tendon will endure large amounts of stress. An under-trained or inexperienced athlete is most likely to be affected by tendinitis since their body is not accustomed to the stress involved with athletics.
Improper foot mechanics is another common cause of Achilles tendinitis. A properly functioning foot will distribute weight evenly across the foot. On the contrary, if the foot is experiencing improper mechanics, the weight of the body will not be evenly distributed. This can result in tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, calluses, bunions, neuromas and much more.
Initially, pain is experienced in the back of the heel. Through further examination patients often notice swelling, skin that is warm to the touch and tenderness in the heel.
Furthermore, standing on the toes will cause intense pain in the lower back part of the heel.
By properly training the body, an athlete can build the strength of their tendons and muscles. Following a workout and dieting plan, the body will be able to build muscle and strengthen most effectively. Additionally, doing the following can prevent tendinitis:
- Wearing proper footwear – Wearing appropriate shoes will give your foot the support it needs for proper movements of the foot and ankle. Improper movements will put additional stress on your body.
- Stretching before an athletic activity – Stretching primes the body for a taxing activity. Additionally, this will get your blood flowing and reduce the risk of pulling a muscle.
- Ask your doctor about orthotics – Custom orthotics can help get your foot into proper alignment. If the foot does not execute proper mechanics, the body will adjust which will cause pain and increase the chances of injury.
At our offices in Spring Hill and Hudson Florida, Dr. Lawrence Kales will be able to examine your condition and determine if Achilles tendonitis is the cause of your heel pain. By taking an X-ray or scanning the foot, he will be able to get a clear understanding of your condition and prescribe the most effective treatment.
If you do have Achilles tendonitis, you are at a higher risk of rupturing it. For this reason it is important that you stay off of your feet and avoid most activities until your body has recovered. You can also use bandaging, ice and anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling and promote efficient healing.