Getting You Back On Your Feet

Achilles Tendon Issues

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Tendons carry a lot of weight. That also means when they get injured, you definitely feel their loss. Your Achilles tendon is one of the most powerful tendons you have. It connects the calf muscle to your heel bone and handles all the pressure of pushing your foot off the ground when you walk, run, and jump. Common Achilles tendon issues can sharply limit your mobility and make even walking uncomfortable and difficult.

Why Your Achilles Hurts

Your Achilles tendon is a crucial member of your body when it comes to your mobility. The tendon pulling on the back of your heel bone is what makes it possible for you to point your foot and push off the ground. Because of all the daily strain on the tendon, however, it can be quite prone to overuse and even traumatic injuries. Overuse is the most common Achilles tendon issue. It develops when the connector is handling more than it is currently able to support. Typically, this happens when you try to do too much too soon, like jumping into activities or sports without conditioning your lower limbs first. It can also develop simply from not allowing your feet to have enough rest. Worse, the damage from overuse weakens the tissue overall and makes it more likely your Achilles will suffer traumatic damage later.

Most Common Injuries

There are a few particularly common Achilles tendon injuries that result from either overuse or a sudden accident:

  • Tendonitis – This is inflammation in the tendon. You may notice pain when you try to use your Achilles which tends to get worse until you rest.
  • Tendinosis – This is an issue with degeneration in the Achilles. Areas of the tendon will swell, thicken, and stiffen. This makes using your Achilles—particularly stretching it—very uncomfortable. You may see swollen areas behind your ankle or notice the tendon is sensitive to touch.
  • Rupture – This means the partial or complete tear of your Achilles. This can happen suddenly to a mostly healthy tendon by forcefully pushing off the ground or landing a jump incorrectly. However, it can also be the result of sudden strain on a tendon weakened by tendonitis or tendinosis over time.

Often these common injuries are related. Tendonitis frequently morphs into tendinosis the longer it persists. Ruptures are also far more likely in an Achilles that has unresolved tendonitis/tendinosis issues. All in all, when you feel pain in your Achilles, it’s best to have the problem diagnosed and treated as soon as possible so the conditions don’t worsen.

What You Can Expect from Recovery

Achilles tendon issues do not improve on their own. In fact, they will worsen unless something is done to treat the problem. Our team at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC, will examine your lower limbs carefully to identify the source of your discomfort and factors that might be making it worse. From there we will help you walk toward recovery. Exactly what you need will depend on your condition and how serious it is. For the majority of Achilles tendon injuries, however, the answer will be conservative treatment. You’ll most likely rest, stretch, and recondition your lower limbs. Icing might help with inflammation pain. Changing your shoes and using orthotics may be helpful for reducing strain on the tendon. Severe cases might require a short period of immobilization to allow the tendon time to repair itself without any stress. Complete ruptures, however, may need surgery to allow the torn ends to grow back together. Your Achilles is a major tendon that you need at its best to walk or otherwise move around comfortably. Fortunately, you never have to live with Achilles pain. The sooner you take care of the problem, the easier it will be to manage. Call Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC, for more information or use our online contact form.