Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, commonly occurring in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It can also be caused by not stretching the calves properly, increasing mileage too quickly, overtraining, excessive hill running, speedwork, or wearing stiff running shoes. The condition typically presents as a gradual onset of Achilles pain during or after a run. Symptoms include a mild ache in the back of the leg, tenderness, stiffness, and episodes of more-severe pain after prolonged running, stair climbing, or sprinting.
To prevent Achilles tendinitis, it is recommended to increase the activity level gradually, avoid activities that place excessive stress on the tendons, choose appropriate shoes, and address training errors and biomechanical issues. If experiencing Achilles pain, it is important to stop running and seek professional advice to prevent the condition from worsening.
Here's what you need to know:
- Symptoms: The main sign of Achilles tendinitis is pain at the back of your heel. It can vary from a dull ache to a sharp pain, typically worsening with exercise. The discomfort might lessen with rest, but severe cases can affect running and even daily activities like walking or climbing stairs.
- Causes: It's usually caused by overstraining the tendon. Other risk factors include wearing improper footwear, running on hard surfaces, having tight calf muscles, or suddenly increasing your training intensity or duration. Runners with very high or flat arches are also at higher risk.
- Treatment: The key treatments are rest, ice application, anti-inflammatory medications, and possibly physical therapy. Rest allows the tendon to heal, while ice and medications reduce swelling and pain. Physical therapy might include stretches, strength exercises, massages, and other techniques to aid healing and prevent future injury.
- Prevention: To avoid Achilles tendinitis, it's crucial to train wisely. Avoid sudden increases in running intensity or volume, ensure your footwear is suitable, and regularly stretch and strengthen your calf muscles.
In summary, Achilles tendinitis is a common injury in runners, characterized by heel pain due to tendon strain. Treatment involves rest, ice, medication, and physical therapy. To prevent it, be mindful of your training regimen, wear appropriate shoes, and maintain good calf muscle strength and flexibility. Proper care and prevention can help you continue running without this issue.
ACHILLES TENDINITIS FAQs
The symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include:
- Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon in the morning.
- Pain along the tendon or back of the heel that worsens with activity.
- Severe pain the day after exercising.
- Thickening of the tendon.
- Bone spur formation (insertional tendinitis).
- Swelling that is present all the time and gets worse throughout the day or with activity
- Tenderness when you touch your tendon.
- A grating noise or creaking feeling (crepitus) when you move your ankle
- Episodes of more-severe pain may occur after prolonged running, stair climbing, or sprinting
If you experience persistent pain around the Achilles tendon, it is important to seek medical attention, and if the pain or disability is severe, immediate medical attention may be necessary