Achilles Tendonitis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

The Achilles tendon, located behind the ankle, helps transmit power coming from the calf muscles to the foot. Due to overuse or injury, this tendon can become inflamed and cause pain in this area, a condition known as Achilles tendonitis or tendinitis. At Horizon Foot & Ankle Institute in St. Louis, we can diagnose your Achilles tendonitis and formulate a personalized treatment plan. Here’s what to know about Achilles tendonitis, including the causes, symptoms, and foot pain treatment:

Achilles tendonitis

Causes of Achilles Tendonitis

The two most common causes of Achilles tendonitis are overuse and injury. When you repetitively engage in activities that involve the Achilles tendon, it may get strained and inflamed. These activities can include running for too long when your body is not used to it, playing sports for long periods, and lifting heavy objects. Additional causes of Achilles tendonitis include wearing heels for long periods, sprain injuries during activity, using worn-out or poorly fitting shoes, and engaging in physical activity before warming up.

The condition often occurs if you play sports like tennis and basketball, sports where you need to stop suddenly and change direction. These sudden changes in motion can strain the Achilles tendon and cause inflammation. Achilles tendonitis also has risk factors such as obesity, gender (more common in men), age (more common in older individuals), certain medical conditions, and physical traits like weak calf muscles.

Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis

The most common symptoms of Achilles tendonitis are pain and discomfort around the heel and ankle. The pain is usually sensitive to touch and worsens when you engage in activities like running, playing sports, or climbing the stairs. You may also experience swelling, soreness, stiffness, and limited range of motion around the Achilles tendon area. Other symptoms are difficulty bending your ankle, fever, and redness around the area.

Sometimes, this condition resolves on its own when mild or unserious. In cases where it limits you from conducting your daily activities and worsens with time, a consultation with a professional podiatrist may be necessary to determine a suitable foot pain treatment.

Treatment for Achilles Tendonitis

When you first visit a foot pain treatment professional, they’ll conduct a diagnosis to determine whether you have Achilles tendonitis. The diagnosis involves an ultrasound, X-ray, or MRI. They’ll also conduct a physical exam to identify signs of redness, swelling, poor flexibility, and loss of range of motion. For mild Achilles tendonitis, your foot expert may recommend ice packs, resting, compression, and elevation. For severe cases, the professional may prescribe pain and anti-inflammatory medications. They may also suggest heel-strengthening exercises and orthopedic shoe inserts.

Achilles tendonitis is often preventable. Foot specialists recommend taking exercise slowly before Increasing Intensity, especially if you’re new to the activity. Another preventative tip is stretching daily to increase flexibility in your calf muscles. If you engage in sports that involve sudden changes in direction, adopt strengthening exercises for calf muscles to improve their ability to withstand strain. Warm up before exercising, wear shoes with suitable cushioning, combine intensive and non-intensive activities, and reduce shoe heel size.

Get Quality Foot Pain Treatment

We use our feet in almost everything we do, and if there’s pain, it can make even the easiest tasks challenging. At Horizon Foot & Ankle Institute in St. Louis, we’re here to diagnose your situation and provide an effective treatment. Our team approach incorporates primary care physicians, rehabilitation specialists, and podiatric surgeon foot and ankle experts and will create a personalized treatment plan to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible. Visit us today for a foot evaluation.