Don’t Let Your Achilles Tendon Take You Down

 

Achilles Tendonitis

When you want to “Get Back in the Game”, check with Collins Orthpaedics and Sports Medicine. Achilles tendinitis can happen to anyone at anytime. It is an overuse injury of the Achilles (uh-KILL-eez) tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone. Achilles tendinitis most commonly occurs in athletes who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their workouts. It’s also common in middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball, weekly. But, it can also happen just stepping off your skateboard at the wrong angle. Most cases of Achilles tendinitis can be treated with relatively simple, at-home care under your doctor’s supervision. Self-care strategies are usually necessary to prevent recurring episodes. More-serious cases of Achilles tendinitis can lead to tendon tears (ruptures) that may require surgical repair.

Symptoms

The pain associated with Achilles tendinitis typically begins as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after running or other sports activity. Episodes of more-severe pain may occur after prolonged running, stair climbing or sprinting. You might also experience tenderness or stiffness, especially in the morning, which usually improves with mild activity.

When to see a doctor?

If you experience persistent pain around the Achilles tendon, call Collins Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. Seek immediate medical attention if the pain or disability is severe. You may have a torn (ruptured) Achilles tendon.

Causes

Achilles tendinitis is caused by repetitive or intense strain on the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. This tendon is used when you walk, run, jump or push up on your toes.

The structure of the Achilles tendon weakens with age, which can make it more susceptible to injury — particularly in people who may participate in sports infrequently or who have suddenly increased the intensity of their running programs.

Risk factors

A number of factors may increase your risk of Achilles tendinitis, including:

  • Your sex
  • Age
  • Physical problems
  • Training choices
  • Medical conditions
  • Medications Complications Achilles tendinitis can weaken the tendon, making it more vulnerable to a tear (rupture) — a painful injury that usually requires surgical repair and long term recovery and rehabilitation.

Prevention

While it may not be possible to prevent Achilles tendinitis, you can take measures to reduce your risk: increase your activity level gradually; take it easy and avoid activities that place excessive stress on your tendons; choose your shoes carefully; stretch daily; strengthen your calf muscles; and cross-train by alternating high-impact activities, such as running and jumping, with low-impact activities, such as cycling and swimming.

If you need assistance with Achilles tendinitis, do not hesitate to contact Collins Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. We are here to help. Let’s “Get Back in the Game”.

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