The achilles tendon is the large tendon which exists at the back of the ankle just below the calf muscle. When this tendon becomes inflamed due to overuse or injury, it is called achilles tendonitis.
It is one of the most common overuse tendon injuries which should always be treated as early as possible. Left untreated, further achilles tendon injury or, worse, achilles tendon rupture can occur.
Achilles tendon injuries can be quite debilitating. It is usually associated with swelling and pain upon tensioning or squeezing of the achilles tendon at the back of the ankle.
There are several factors that can contribute to achilles tendonitis, the most common being overuse of the muscle/tendon following initial injury to the achilles tendon.
A poorly functioning foot can cause the heel to shift outwards and "bow" the Achilles tendon. This damages the tendon sheath, resulting in painful inflammation of the area. This abnormality needs to be neutralised using orthotic devices, orthoses or foot orthotics to stop recurrence of injury.
A sudden increase in training, excessive hill running and speed work can also lead to inflammation of the achilles tendon.
Excessive heel cushioning and air-filled shoes can, over a period of time, lose their stability if damaged or worn incorrectly. This can cause the heel to sink into the shoe, while the shoe is absorbing shock. This further stretches the Achilles tendon at a time when the leg and body are moving forward over the foot, thereby increasing strain.
Tight calf and hamstring muscles may contribute to prolonged achilles tendonitis due to the continual "pulling" strain they exert on the tendon.
Achilles tendonitis is a condition that responds well to conservative treatment if treated early. If disregarded, symptoms and treatment can last for several months.
Conservative treatment involves:
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Foot Pain and Achilles Tendonitis.
WARNING : This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional podiatric advice. Treatment will vary between individuals depending upon your diagnosis and presenting complaint. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a Podiatrist, your Doctor or your foot specialist.
For more information on aching feet and many other foot pain, leg pain and back pain conditions please visit our Foot Pain Conditions page and click on the condition of interest to you.
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