The Achilles tendon is a fibrous band of tissue that links the muscles from your calf to your heel. The flexibility of the tendon is key for jumping, running, and walking. The Achilles bears a lot of stress and pressure during everyday activities, as well as during athletic and recreational play. If it becomes inflamed, swollen or irritated, it is called tendonitis. The most common risk factors for Achilles tendon injuries are starting a new sport, an increased amount or intensity of an activity, bone spurs on the heels, tight calf muscles when starting an activity, and wearing improper shoes when exercising. Common symptoms of Achilles tendon injuries include the following: pain that gets worse while being active, a stiff/sore Achilles tendon when first getting up in the morning, thickening of the tendon, and difficulty in flexing the affected foot. Some treatment options are rest, physical therapy, specific exercises to strengthen the calf muscles, and anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief such as ibuprofen or naproxen. An Achilles tendon injury may be prevented by stretching before exercising and by wearing the correct shoes. It may be suggested to cease exercise on uneven surfaces and stop activities that cause pain. If you have an Achilles injury or if you would like to take precautions to prevent an Achilles injury, please consult with your local podiatrist.
Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. Kevin Davis of Davis Foot & Ankle Centers. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
What Is the Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can create immense difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.
What Are the Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?
There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common injuries are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.
Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms
- Dull to severe pain
- Increased blood flow to the tendon
- Thickening of the tendon
- Extreme pain and swelling in the foot
- Total immobility
Treatment and Prevention
Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation, which can include an MRI. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:
- Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise
- Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses
If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Springfield, Russellville, and White House, TN. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.Read more about Achilles Tendon Injuries