Achilles tendinitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon. This tendon is the largest in the body and attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone. When this tendon becomes inflamed, it causes pain and other symptoms that get worse with activity and get better with rest. Achilles tendinitis can often be treated at home, but in more severe cases, treatment by a podiatrist may be required. Dealing with Achilles tendinitis

Common Signs and Causes of Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis causes pain above the heel of the foot and in the lower leg. It can worsen after periods of physical activity such as running or climbing stairs. Achilles tendinitis is caused by overuse and repetitive stress on the Achilles tendon. If you increase the intensity of a workout too quickly or have tight calf muscles, you can be at risk for developing this condition.

Some common signs of Achilles tendinitis are:

  • Stiffness in the heel that is worse in the morning
  • Swelling or discomfort in the back of the heel in the morning
  • Tenderness when pressing on the sides of the Achilles tendon
  • Thickening of the tendon
  • Tight calf muscles and heel pain when stretching the calf muscle
  • Bone spur at the back of the heel
  • Pain that worsens with activity
  • Leg weakness
  • Warmth in the heel area
  • Limited range of ankle motion when flexing the foot
  • Pain when standing on your toes or wearing shoes

Achilles tendinitis is caused by overuse and can happen as a result of the following:

  • Not warming up properly before exercise
  • Playing sports that require you to stop quickly and change direction
  • Running at a high intensity for long distances
  • Increasing physical activity suddenly without gradually allowing your body to adjust
  • Wearing shoes that do not fit properly and do not provide support
  • Wearing high heels regularly

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

If you have signs of Achilles tendinitis such as pain, tenderness, and swelling in the back of your heel, see a podiatrist for an examination. A podiatrist can diagnose Achilles tendinitis through a physical exam and a review of your medical history. If the injury is more severe, imaging tests may be ordered to rule out a tear or rupture in the tendon.

For most cases of Achilles tendinitis, conservative treatment is first recommended and can be done at home. Treatment may consist of:

  • Resting to give the tendon time to heal and prevent the condition from getting worse
  • Ice to reduce swelling and pain
  • Compression using athletic tape or wrapping
  • Elevation of the foot above the level of the heart to help with swelling

In addition, your podiatrist may recommend the following treatment options:

  • Physical therapy exercises to stretch the Achilles tendon and surrounding muscles
  • Over-the-counter pain medication to reduce pain and swelling
  • Wearing custom orthotics inside your shoes to give extra support
  • Night splints to wear while sleeping to prevent pain in the morning
  • Using crutches or a walking boot to keep weight off the injured foot
  • MLS laser therapy to help reduce pain without the need for medication
  • Surgery in rare cases where conservative methods do not help with symptoms

Achilles Tendinitis Prevention Tips

To reduce your risk of Achilles tendinitis, there are several things you can do, including:

  • Stay active and gradually increase physical activity
  • Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Warm up before activity and cool down after
  • Stretch your legs and feet daily
  • Wear shoes that fit properly and are designed for your planned activity
  • Run on softer surfaces and avoid running up hills
  • Mix up your exercise routine, and add in activities that work different muscle groups
  • Alternate low-impact activities such as swimming or cycling with higher-impact activities

Are You Experiencing Achilles Tendonitis in Alexandria, VA?

If you are looking for an expert on achilles tendonitis,you should reach out to an experienced podiatrist. Foot pain is never something you just have to put up with. If your feet are aching, out of alignment, or just aren't holding up to the wear and tear of modern living, Capital Podiatry Associates can help. Our office provides a wide variety of advanced, effective treatment options for all kinds of painful conditions. Ready to schedule an appointment? We offer telemedicine and valet medicineContact us online or call our Alexandria office at 703-560-3773.