The connection between your calf muscles and the heel bone is possible via the Achilles tendon. This tendon allows you to walk, jump, run, and stand. However, overusing the Achilles tendon can cause complications that may hinder your movement. Irritation in this tendon due to overuse or injury causes inflammation, a condition called Achilles tendinitis. Collaborating with a trusted Alamo Heights podiatrist will ensure a comprehensive physical examination of your Achilles tendon and contribute towards an accurate diagnosis of the symptoms’ root cause. Your diagnosis will influence your physician’s treatment approach to restore peripheral structure and function, thus ensuring treatment efficacy.
Types of Achilles Tendinitis
There are two main types of Achilles tendinitis. The type of Achilles tendinitis you have will depend on the location of your tear. The following are the two types of Achilles tendinitis:
- Noninsertional Achilles tendinitis: Small tears on the fibers of your Achilles tendon, specifically in the middle portion, is noninsertional Achilles tendinitis. This type of Achilles tendinitis affects younger patients.
- Insertional tendinitis: This type of Achilles tendonitis involves tears in the lower portion of the tendon, which is attached to the calcaneus. Age is not a risk factor for insertional tendinitis because the disease can present in patients of any age. However, physician inactivity can enhance your risk of developing insertional Achilles tendinitis.
Symptoms of Achilles tendinitis?
Appreciating the symptoms of Achilles tendinitis will allow self-diagnosis and help you seek early treatment for your concerns. The following are the typical symptoms of Achilles tendinitis:
- Pain and swelling in the back of your heel: This pain is significant when walking or running.
- Limited range of movement when flexing your foot: This symptom occurs due to tightness in the calf muscles.
- Difficulty standing on your toes
- Thickening of the Achilles tendon
What causes Achilles tendinitis?
The main cause of Achilles tendinitis is overusing the Achilles tendon. This condition is common among athletes who frequently perform vigorous training. However, aging is also a risk factor for the disease because it causes gradual wear and tear to the tendon. Arthritis in middle-aged and older patients is a degenerative disease that may affect the tendons leading to irritation and inflammation. Other causes of Achilles tendinitis include:
- Wearing poor-fitting shoes
- Wearing heels for daily
- Failure to warm up before exercise
What is the best treatment for Achilles tendinitis?
Patient-centeredness is key in the treatment of Achilles tendinitis. Your physician will recommend a specific treatment approach depending on your symptoms and the type of Achilles tendinitis you have. Anti-inflammatory medications and rest are conservative approaches to treating Achilles tendinitis. Invasive treatments of Achilles tendinitis include the use of steroid injections and surgery. Your physician may also ask you to reduce physical activity or recommend a brace or walking boot to minimize heel movement. Physical therapy is a potential approach for patients with movement complications. Stretching the calf muscles can promote strengthening and thus restore mobility. Contact Sports Medicine Associates of San Antonio to determine the best treatment for your Achilles tendinitis and jumpstart your journey to unlimited heel motion.