Achilles Tendonitis: Symptoms and PreventionTendons are long, tough cords of tissue that connect your bones to your muscles. Located in the back of the foot and connecting the heel bone to the calf muscle, the Achilles tendon is the longest tendon in the body. All tendons are important to enjoying full motion, but without the Achilles tendon, you wouldn’t be able to walk, run, or jump. Fortunately, this tendon can endure heaps of stress; however, that does not mean that it’s invulnerable. Use it too much and it can swell, become irritated or inflamed, and ultimately cause pain. When this happens, it is called Achilles tendonitis.

Causes of Achilles Tendonitis

Too much stress on the feet is ultimately what causes Achilles tendonitis. It is a common athletic injury among runners and other athletes who are on their feet a lot. Things that can cause tendonitis include:

  • Pushing your body too fast and too soon
  • Sports that cause you to quickly start and stop
  • Poor fitting shoes and bad footwear
  • Running or exercising on uneven ground
  • Running uphill
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Bone spur (extra bone growth in the heel that rubs the tendon and causes pain)
  • Flat arches, feet that roll in (overpronation), and weak calf muscles
  • Not warming up before exercising

Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis

Obviously, pain is a symptom of most medical issues. You’ll feel pain with Achilles tendonitis, yes, but there are other symptoms as well, such as the following: 

  • Weakness in the leg
  • Slight pain above the heel in the lower leg after activity
  • Feeling of stiffness in the leg that usually appears in the morning and lessens throughout the day
  • Bad pain the day after exercising
  • Pain as you climb stairs or go uphill
  • Swelling in the area of the Achilles tendon
  • Creaking or cracking noise when you press on the Achilles tendon

Preventing Achilles Tendonitis

There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of Achilles tendonitis. Remember, prevention is key to avoiding many injuries, and that is no exception with Achilles tendonitis. The following are things you can do to help prevent this painful injury.

  • Warm-up every time before you exercise or play a sport
  • Rotate your exercises
  • Slowly increase the length and intensity of your workouts
  • Keep your muscles active year-round

 

Achilles tendonitis isn’t fun. Fortunately, the team at Hampton Roads Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can help with physical therapy and other non-surgical treatment options. It’s best to come in as soon as you feel the symptoms, as pain lasting longer than six months may require surgery. Visit us online to learn more about us and to locate our six convenient locations!