Achilles Tendonitis

What is Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles Tendon is the thick tissue that runs from the bottom of your calf down to your heel. If this area of your lower leg is very sore and the pain seems to be coming from this thick band of tissue, chances are you are suffering from Achilles Tendinitis.

What causes Achilles Tendinitis?

Achilles tendinitis occurs when the Achilles tendon is strained due to too much exertion. This extraneous exertion can be caused by poor form while walking, running or jumping or other athletic activities.

Who gets Achilles Tendon Pain?

Like any muscle or tendon in the body, the older we get, the more likely we are to sustain an injury. So middle-aged men and women are most at risk, with a slightly higher risk factor attributed to males. Those who participate in more intense athletic activities like high impact sports (tennis, running, basketball) are most susceptible to the injury. Certain underlying medical conditions can also be a contributing factor. Diabetics are more at risk of suffering from Achilles Tendinitis, as are those who are not in great physical shape. Some antibiotics, particularly fluoroquinolones can make one more likely to suffer a strained Achilles Tendon.

What additional Risk factors exist for Achilles Tendinitis?

Athletic activity requires proper footwear. Those who run in shoes that are not properly fitted for their feet, especially those who require extra arch support are much more likely to injure an Achilles Tendon, especially for runners who embark on hilly routes. How serious is Achilles Tendinitis?Tendinitis of any kind, in and of itself is not very serious provided it is rested and treated properly and promptly. However, an inflamed Achilles Tendon is much more susceptible to a tear or complete rupture. A torn Achilles Tendon has been described by some professional athletes as the most painful injury they have ever endured. Tears and ruptures require surgical repair, which can lead to several months of rehabilitation. Some people who suffer a significant tear or rupture of an Achilles Tendon never fully recover, especially if the injury is sustained at an older age.  It is therefore highly recommended to anyone suffering from Achilles Tendonitis to take care of their injury and treat it very seriously!

What is the Treatment for Achilles Tendinitis?

To help heal your Achille’s Tendinitis, follow the R.I.C.E. Principle including Rest, Ice Compression and Elevation.  In addition your physiotherapist will likely recommend specific exercises promote healing and strengthening of the Achilles tendon and its supporting structures. As well an orthotic that elevates your heel can reduce stress on your Achilles tendon. Reducing inflammation in the tendon is important too this can often be achieved with oral pills or topical creams. Over-the-counter pain medications or prescription strength — such as ibuprofen. However, these drugs can have side effects, like an increased risk of bleeding ulcers. They should be used only occasionally unless your doctor specifically says otherwise. Topical anti-inflammatory creams made with natural ingredients designed specifically for feet and legs (eg Zax's Original Heelspur Cream) target the affected areas and provides effective and safe relief. Tendinitis usually responds well to self-care measures. But if your signs and symptoms are severe or persistent, your doctor might suggest other treatment options including surgery.

What can be done to prevent Achilles Tendinitis?

You can take measures to reduce your risk of developing Achilles Tendinitis. This include: Increasing your activity level gradually, choosing your shoes carefully, daily stretching and doing exercises to strengthen your calf muscles. As well, applying a small amount ZAX’s Original Heelspur Cream onto your Achilles tendon before and after exercise.
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