Inflammation is painful, no matter where it develops. Your tissues do not function well when they’re damaged. This weakens whatever structure is struggling with the irritation. Achilles tendinitis is one such injury, and it can take a real toll on your mobility if it’s allowed to deteriorate.
The condition is a common overuse injury that causes inflammation in one of the main connective tissues in your lower limbs. Your Achilles tendon is one of the largest and strongest connectors in your body—this allows it to exert force on your foot to rise up on your toes or push off the ground when you take a step. It attaches your calf muscle to the back of your heel bone, so it moves the whole foot when it pulls.
Usually the tissue becomes irritated from absorbing repeated strain. Suddenly increasing the duration or intensity of your workouts, starting a new routine, or insufficient support for your lower limbs stresses the Achilles. Over time, this causes inflammation. You feel an aching and stiffness in the back of the heel, especially in the morning or after an extended period of inactivity. Usually, the discomfort worsens when you use the affected foot and decreases somewhat when you rest. Sometimes the back of the heel may swell as well. Since this is an overuse injury, it tends to deteriorate the longer it goes untreated.
Restoring Your Achilles Heel
The sooner you address inflammation in the Achilles, the easier it is for you lower limbs to recover. Irritated connective tissues often thicken and become hard to treat if not managed early. Worse, chronic tendonitis weakens your whole foot and increases your risk for ruptures or other complications. Our team of podiatrists here at Martin Foot and Ankle can diagnose your condition and help you treat it so you’re no longer in pain and your foot is restored to full strength.
We will use a variety of tests to identify the damage in your tendon, including diagnostic images. This allows us to rule out other possible causes for your discomfort and weakness. Because Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury, it usually responds well to conservative therapies.
Rest is a vital factor in your recovery. You’ll need to take a break from your activities to allow your foot to heal. You should ice the tendon regularly to reduce swelling and pain while you recover. You may need to adjust your shoes or use orthotics to provide your limbs with sufficient support. Physical therapy stretches and exercises can help you relax and strengthen your Achilles so it can better handle strain, too. We may recommend anti-inflammatory medications if your pain is persistent. In the rare case that your foot doesn’t respond to conservative measures, you may need a surgery to repair the damage.
Achilles tendinitis is uncomfortable and can weaken your whole foot. Rather than living with the pain and watching your foot worsen, take care of your lower limbs and address your discomfort right away. Contact the podiatry offices of Martin Foot and Ankle here in York, Lancaster, Lititz and Hanover, PA, for more information or to book an appointment. You can use our online request form or call (717) 757-3537 to reach us.