What Causes Achilles Tendonitis and How is it Treated?

What Causes Achilles Tendonitis and How is it Treated?

Inflammation of the largest tendon in your body, the Achilles tendon, is called Achilles tendonitis and can seem to appear out of nowhere. Achilles tendonitis may or may not require foot and ankle surgery as an eventual treatment, but nonsurgical therapies are usually enough to give you some relief. 

While experiencing symptoms of Achilles tendonitis like pain in the back of your heel or swelling and thickening in the same area, you may have some questions about what caused the inflammation in the first place. 

Here at Lake Erie Podiatry in Erie, Pennsylvania, podiatrist Michael Ruiz, DPM, tells you more about your condition and helps you manage the symptoms. With an understanding of what causes Achilles tendonitis, you might be able to stop it from happening again later on. 

Common causes of Achilles tendonitis

The wide majority of Achilles tendonitis cases happen because of repeated stress or pressure on the Achilles tendon, which runs from your calf muscle on the back of your leg to your heel bone. Because it comes from repeated or intense pressure, Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury and is particularly common in athletes. 

By regulating your use of the tendon, you can avoid getting Achilles tendonitis. As an athlete, you should avoid wearing shoes that are too worn down during your workouts and always be sure to stretch and warm up before practice or play. You should also gradually build up to higher intensity workouts instead of starting with rigorous exercises right away.

You don’t have to be an athlete to get Achilles tendonitis: In fact, older individuals are prone to the condition since the tendon’s structure gets weaker naturally with age. Other factors outside of your control, like heel bone spurs, can aggravate the Achilles tendon and cause inflammation too. 

Ways to treat Achilles tendonitis

Much like other podiatric conditions, Achilles tendonitis is relatively easy to manage under a podiatrist’s care. Initially, Dr. Ruiz examines your Achilles tendon and checks its range of motion. Imaging tests like digital X-rays can show if the tendon has hardened or calcified and give him an idea of which treatments will work best for you. 

Mild cases of Achilles tendonitis can be treated at home using a regimen of rest, ice, compression, elevation, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Gentle treatments like these are unfortunately not always effective, so you might need to go with a more clinical approach. Dr. Ruiz treats Achilles tendonitis with:

Surgery is only necessary in the most severe cases of Achilles tendonitis which have not shown enough improvement with several months of nonoperative attempts. 

Need more information?

You have many options for the treatment of Achilles tendonitis no matter the cause. Schedule an appointment by phone or online with Dr. Ruiz at Lake Erie Podiatry today. 

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