The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the human body and its function id to connect the muscles in the heel with the lower legs. This tendon is subjected to immense pressure during movement, and when individuals jump or sprint, it may bear more than twelve times the body weight. This tendon works very hard and is prone to injury that can lead to inflammation and tenderness, which in turn can develop into Achilles tendonitis and foot pain.
What Factors Lead to the Development of the Condition?
When the condition develops in young people, it can almost always be ascribed to overuse of the tendon due to a sudden frenzy of physical activity without warming up properly. Sports that require a lot of jumping, such as basketball for example, are one of the most common causes of the condition with younger people. When the ankle, foot or lower legs are injured, inflammation often results, and this may lead to Achilles tendonitis. Middle-aged and older people that contract Achilles tendonitis usually suffer from arthritis or they experience bone growth in the heel that inflames the tendon.
What are the Main Signs?
One of the surest indicators of Achilles tendonitis is severe foot pain or pain behind the heel. The pain experienced from Achilles tendonitis is often much worse when getting up in the morning, when sitting for long periods, and when the muscles are not exercised for some time. Most patients report tenderness and swelling in the area of the tendon, and jumping or pushing often result in sever, sudden pain. Very few people with the condition can stand tippy-toe.
What Can be Done About the Condition?
Much can be done to treat the condition, and in most cases, the results of treatment using insoles are satisfactory. Rest is regarded as one of the most important treatment, and often specialists will go as far as to immobilize the foot to make sure that all the muscles rest. A special shoe insole is often used to raise the affected heel slightly, thereby lessening the pressure on the heel itself. It helps to apply ice to the area of inflammation because this will help to improve the blood flow, and it will provide some measure of relief from foot pain. Most medical practitioners will prescribe some form of anti-inflammatory medication, and even ointments that aim to topical relief.
Regardless of the other treatment options, almost all patients are advised to undergo some physical therapy that consists of stretching and strengthening exercises that aim to make the muscles of the calf suppler. It is only after every other option has been exhausted that specialists will consider surgery. Surgery is usually performed in order to remove the infected part of the tendon and to ensure that the remaining healthy part is re-attached to the heel.
What Steps Can be Taken to Avoid the Condition?
Foot pain and Achilles tendonitis often develop because athletes fail to make sure their muscles and tendons are made supple with stretching exercises before they place pressure upon the body. Strong muscles and tendons that are kept flexible with regular aerobic exercises are less likely to be injured.