Achilles tendonitis is a condition of irritation and inflammation of the large tendon in the back of the ankle.
In most cases Achilles tendonitis is a common injury for both Professional and weekend athletes. They may well suffer from Achilles tendonitis.
However it is also a common overuse injury in people not involved in sport. Overuse of the Achilles tendon can cause inflammation that can lead to pain and swelling.
If you suffer with Achilles tendinosis you will have chronic Achilles swelling and pain as a result of degenerative, microscopic tears within the tendon.
So What is Happening?
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. One of the critical factors that is implicated in Achilles problems is the limited blood supply to the tendon. Due to the limited blood supply, injury healing can be slow and difficult. Most blood flow to the tendon comes from the muscle above the tendon (the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles) and the bone below the tendon (the calcaneus). Between these is the Achilles and a typical watershed zone (turning point) of blood flow. Where there is only a limited amount of oxygen and nutrients being delivered to the tendon
What Can Be Some of the Causes of Achilles Tendonitis?
- As mentioned athletic activities such as Football, basketball, tennis, running any form of overuse.
- Inadequate footwear when playing sport. No matter whether your sport is recreational or professional it pays to spend a little more and purchase good footwear that is going to give you adequate ankle support. Even if you are not a sports person, it was always drummed into me as a kid that good footwear was important for healthy, growing feet and of course your ankles.
- Lack of Flexibility keeping your feet and ankles flexible with stretching exercises and rotating your ankles helps to keep up the blood flow.
- Diet high in salt, sugar and soft drinks will create rigidity within your joints, including your tendons.
- Overweight and obesity – being overweight places more strain on many parts of the body, including the Achilles tendon.
- Quinolone antibiotics – it has been recognized that in some instances there has been inflammation occurring with tenosynovitis after taking this prescribed medication.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis!
- pain in the back of the heel
- difficulty walking – sometimes the pain makes walking impossible
- swelling, tenderness and warmth of the Achilles tendon. When there is heat or warmth in your Achilles tendon apply ice packs, when the Achilles tendon appear cold and icy not from the ice pack but under normal circumstances you may find it helpful to apply a heat pack. It is often suggested rotation of these two packs in the early stages of the injury.
These symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the condition.
How to Treat and Care for Achilles Tendonitis!
The main focus here is to reduce strain and stress on the tendon and to support the inflammation process:
- Completely avoid or seriously limit any activities that are going to aggravate the condition such as running, climbing stairs or jumping.
- Sometimes shoe inserts may help to take the pressure off the tendon as it heals. In cases of flat or hyperpronated feet, your doctor or podiatrist may recommend long-term use of orthoses.
- Endeavour to purchase good quality footwear, no matter for what occasion. Your feet and ankles will love you for it.
- At the time of injury applying icepacks for 20 minutes per hour during this acute stage will help to reduce any unnecessary swelling or bruising.
- Taking a supplement such as turmeric, fish oil and vitamin E may prove beneficial.
- Restricting movement of your foot in a cast or ankle boot will give the tendon time to heal. This is recommended for severe cases and to be put into place for eight weeks.
- There are various medical treatments and sometimes surgery in severe cases.
- Opting for lifestyle changes will inadvertly help not only to benefit your Achilles tendon, but also all of your other ligaments and tendons throughout your body.
- Exercises to gently stretch your calf muscles, may be recommended especially in the early stages. As for long term support activities such as swimming, yoga and Pilates are helpful for keeping your body agile.
- Massaging your ankles and calves with a combination of arnica and lavender essential oils. Combine 5 – 10 drops of Arnica essential oil, 5 drops of Lavender essential oil in 150 ml of either olive or sunflower oil.
- Taking arnica internally as a homeopathic remedy is also helpful for supporting inflammation and repair.
How to Prevent Achilles tendonitis
These steps will help to reduce your risk of Achilles tendonitis include:
- incorporate stretching into your warm-up and cool-down routines
- maintain an adequate level of fitness for your sport
- avoid dramatic increases in sports training
- if you experience pain in your Achilles tendon, rest the area. Trying to ‘work through’ the pain will only make your injury worse
- wear good quality supportive shoes appropriate to your sport. If there is foot deformity or flattening, obtain orthoses
- avoid wearing high heels on a regular basis. Maintaining your foot in a ‘tiptoe’ position shortens your calf muscles and reduces the flexibility of your Achilles tendon. An inflexible Achilles tendon is more susceptible to injury
- maintain a normal healthy weight.
So How does Achilles Tendonitis affect your Knees?
This often occurs due to the imbalance of body weight due to not wanting to bear weight on the foot and ankle that is painful. Therefore affecting your posture.
Once again stretching of the calf muscles and maybe having some type of knee support for the knee that is going to be doing some extra work in the short term.
Important to Remember
- In most cases, Achilles tendonitis is a type of overuse injury that is more common among athletes and people who train heavily.
- Treatment includes rest, alkalizing your body has been found helpful, stretching, gentle rotation movements and rest.
- Avoiding activities and certain foods as mentioned that aggravate the condition.
- Surgery is only considered if all other treatment options have failed to cure the condition within six months.
Empowering You to Optimal Health Julie Doherty N.D