High impact exercises like certain types of cardio and running are good for your health. But, while these are great ways to stay in shape, overdoing it can result in a painful condition known as achilles tendinitis. This condition makes it difficult to get around without excruciating pain in your heel and calf.
At Pheonix Foot and Ankle Institute, our team helps you get to the bottom of your heel pain so you can get back to living your life. Dr. Jeffery McAlister is our podiatry and foot and ankle specialist, and an expert in treating achilles tendinitis, no matter what the cause.
Your achilles tendon is the large tendon located in the back of your lower leg. This tendon attaches your heel bone to the muscles in your calf, and is important for activities such as walking, running, and jumping.
Because this tendon is the largest in your body, it’s prone to injury and chronic conditions. A common injury is tendinitis, a condition that happens when you put excess strain on your tendon, causing it to become inflamed and painful.
Achilles tendinitis is considered an overuse injury, but it can also be due to degeneration of your tendon. The problem is, it’s not usually linked to one specific injury; instead, it’s caused by over-stressing your achilles tendon. This could be from very intense exercise on a regular basis, or overly tight calf muscles.
No matter what’s causing your achilles tendinitis, it’s important you understand the symptoms so you can get treatment.
So how do you know if you have achilles tendinitis? While only Dr. McAlister can properly diagnose this condition, some of the common symptoms associated with it include:
The symptoms of achilles tendinitis vary, often depending on the severity of the inflammation in your tendon. If you only have a mild form of this condition, you might not have much pain at all, but rather a thickening of the tendon’s tissue.
On the other hand, if you have a more severe case of achilles tendinitis, your pain and swelling may be so severe that you have trouble getting around at all.
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek help from Dr. McAlister to prevent further injury to your achilles tendon.
Once Dr. McAlister diagnoses you with achilles tendinitis, are you doomed to suffer from it forever? The answer is no. There are many treatments available for this condition, depending on the state of the tendon.
For instance, if you’re not in a lot of pain, but your tendon shows signs of inflammation, Dr. McAlister recommends conservative treatment to allow the tendon to heal. This may include therapies like:
Dr. McAlister may also recommend specialized orthotic devices for your shoes or a walking boot if your pain is more severe. This takes some of the stress off your tendon to allow the inflammation to subside. In most cases, you’ll be free of this condition within a month or two if you follow Dr. McAlister’s treatment plan.
In severe cases, achilles tendinitis is only curable with surgical intervention. Dr. McAlister recommends surgery when conservative measures don’t help relieve your pain or inflammation. Surgery may include options like a gastrocnemius recession to make your calf muscle longer, or an achilles tendon debridement to remove damaged areas.
Surgery is usually successful if you follow your post-op recovery plan. The more of your tendon that needs to be repaired or removed, the longer your recovery likely will be.
However, once you heal, if you follow steps to prevent a recurrence of achilles tendinitis, you’ll be cured of the pain and inflammation.
If you’ve been diagnosed with achilles tendinitis and need expert treatment, call us at 602-761-7819 to schedule a consultation with Dr. McAlister, or book an appointment online with us today.