If you have pain at the bottom of your calf or back of your ankle, it could be Achilles tendinitis. This is a condition that doesn’t tend to heal without treatment, but the team at Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Centers in Virginia can help if you think you’ve got Achilles tendinitis. Their experienced foot care experts provide a range of effective treatments, including surgery for severe cases, so call today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Your Achilles tendon is a band of tissue that runs down the back of your lower leg and connects your calf muscle to your heel bone. This tendon allows you to raise your heel off the ground so you can walk and run.
Achilles tendinitis is what’s known as an overuse injury, most often caused by a sudden increase in activities that involve using the Achilles tendon. These activities put too much stress on the tendon too quickly, leading to tiny tears called micro-injuries in the tendon fibers.
Because the stress on the tendon is ongoing your body can’t repair the injured tissue. In time the structure of the tendon changes, resulting in continued (chronic) pain.
Athletes are at high risk of developing Achilles tendinitis, and it’s a common problem in people whose work puts stress on their ankles and feet like laborers. People who aren’t that fit and only occasionally take part in sports and strenuous physical activities are more likely to develop Achilles tendinitis. Having flat arches also increases your risk.
Typical symptoms of Achilles tendinitis are pain and tenderness in the heel to midcalf area of your leg. The leg might feel stiff and sore, with pain that’s worse when you get up in the morning or after periods of rest. The pain often improves as you start moving around, but if you keep going, it gets worse again.
It feels tender when you squeeze the sides of the Achilles tendon or might be intensely painful in some cases. However, there’s less tenderness when pressing directly on the back of the tendon.
To diagnose Achilles tendinitis, your provider at Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Centers examines your foot and ankle to see how well you can move and checks the condition of the tendon. They might also use X-rays or other diagnostic imaging scans to get a clear picture of any tendon damage.
Treating Achilles tendinitis depends on how long you’ve had the injury and the amount of damage to the tendon. In the early stages, when there is acute inflammation, your provider might recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Physical therapy could include strengthening exercises, soft-tissue massage and mobilization, gait and running reeducation, stretching, and ultrasound therapy.
If nonsurgical approaches aren’t restoring your Achilles tendon to normal, you might need to think about having surgery. Your provider at Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Centers can repair the tendon or in some cases replace part or all of it, depending on your injury and what degree of function you need.
Ignoring Achilles tendinitis and just hoping it gets better doesn’t work, so call Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Centers today or book an appointment online.