Along with plantar fasciitis and runner’s knee, Achilles tendinitis is one of the most common injuries experienced by runners. Your Achilles tendon connects the heel bone to your calf. You use it to walk, run, push up on your toes, and jump.
The Achilles tendon has a limited blood supply, so if it becomes inflamed, irritated, or overused, it’s vulnerable to chronic pain.
If you suspect you have Achilles tendinitis, the team at Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists is ready to help. The experienced podiatrists at our offices in Bradenton, University Park, and Ellenton, Florida, can help this stubborn injury heal and help you prevent complications like a full tendon rupture.
Ideally, though, you avoid this injury altogether. Here’s what our providers want you to know about Achilles tendinitis.
Symptoms of Achilles tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis pain shows up at the back of your ankle. It’s often a dull ache that’s particularly noticeable when you push off your foot while walking or running.
The area may appear red and feel tender to the touch. Pain is usually most acute first thing in the morning or if you stand up after sitting for a while. As you move around, blood flows and the intensity of the pain subsides a bit.
Some people with Achilles tendinitis develop swelling or a bump on the tendon. A crackling or creaking sound when you move the Achilles tendon is also a symptom.
Behaviors that increase your risk of developing Achilles tendinitis
Runners should be aware of the training behaviors that increase your risk of developing Achilles tendinitis. Smart training helps you avoid the injury altogether.
Runners who do the following are more likely to develop Achilles tendinitis:
- Rapidly increase their running mileage or speed
- Do too much too soon after time off from running or exercise
- Add hill running or stair climbing to their training routine
- Neglect calf stretching
- Wear worn-out shoes
Achilles tendinitis can also develop after trauma that involves a hard contraction of the calf muscles, such as a final sprint to the finish line in a race.
Your risk of developing Achilles tendinitis also increases as you age. If you have high blood pressure or psoriasis, you’re also at higher risk. Obesity puts more stress on the tendon, too.
If you have a naturally flat arch in your foot, your Achilles tendon experiences greater strain. We can help you choose the right type of shoes to support your foot while running so you avoid injury.
Treating Achilles tendinitis
If you seek treatment at the first signs of Achilles tendinitis, relatively simple at-home care can help it resolve in a short time. Ice, rest, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be enough.
For more moderate cases of Achilles tendinitis, our team may recommend physical therapy and orthotics to support a low arch.
Severe cases of Achilles tendinitis can lead to tendon rupture, in which case casting and surgery may be necessary.
If you’re a runner, you want a trusted podiatrist on your side. At Cortez Foot and Ankle Specialists, we can help you avoid injury and get back to running if you should suffer an injury like Achilles tendinitis. Call the office today or use our online tool to book an appointment.