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Achilles Tendonitis


Achilles tendon refers to a fibrous tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel. In the human body, leg muscles are considered as the most powerful muscle group and Achilles tendon is the strongest and thickest tendon. A human being is able to rise up on his toes, walk properly due to the effective functioning of Achilles tendon. When the tendon becomes irritated and inflamed, then the resulting condition is said as Achilles tendonitis. It is a common overuse injury that accounts for 11% of running injuries. As with the growing age tendons becomes more susceptible to injury, therefore middle-aged recreational athletes (people engaged in basketball, jumping, people who are engaged in a lot of walking activities, etc) are affected by the condition most. Tendinitis of the heel is the other name of the condition.

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Overpronation and lack of flexibility are considered as the main causes of Achilles tendonitis. Recent changes in the footwear, changes in the training schedule of exercises, medication side-effects, misalignment, etc are some other causes of the condition. It is commonly observed that multiple causes contribute in causing this condition.

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Signs & Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms of the condition include:

  • Pain in the heel during running or walking
  • Skin over the tendon becomes swollen and warm
  • Tenderness or palpation

It is necessary to disclose that in Achilles tendonitis pain is normally felt after completion of activity. Hence, pain is experienced when a person gets up after sitting for a prolonged time, etc.

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Common adage “prevention is better than cure” stands strong in the case of Achilles tendonitis. By maintaining flexibility and strength in the calf muscles will help in reducing risk of tendinitis.

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Conservative Modern Medicine

Treatment of Achilles tendonitis involves:

  • NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin)
  • Physical therapy (laser photostimulation, ultrasound, electrical stimulation) as recommended by health professionals
  • Muscle strengthening
  • Application of ice on the swollen area.

Limiting such kind of activities that may worse the symptoms also aid in treating the condition effectively. Sometimes, professionals suggest making use of brace, cast or boot that aids in making heel still and reducing swelling. If from above mentioned treatments, symptoms don’t go away then surgery may be taken for removing abnormal areas of the tendon and inflamed tissues.

Athletes get relief from Achilles tendonitis by taking certain precautions like:

  • Taking adequate rest and applying ice
  • Wearing right kind of shoes as per foot type and kind of sport in which they are engaged
  • Making use of sport massage techniques if little pain is felt in calf’s area.

It is not wrong to say that Achilles tendonitis is such a condition that can be treated effectively if required care and precaution is seen to. It is suggested that as soon as you experience the symptoms of this condition, take treatment immediately because if condition become chronic, then it will become very difficult to treat.

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