You may have Achilles Tendonitis.What is it? Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon. It is the largest tendon in the body and attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone (calcaneus)
Functions of the Achilles tendon: It enables you to lift your heel when you start to walk and assists in: Walking, Running & Standing on tiptoes.
What symptoms does it cause? You may have one or more of the following symptoms: 1. Pain in the back of the heel 2. Difficulty walking – may be impossible due to pain 3. Swelling, tenderness and warmth of the Achilles tendon
What causes it? Some of the causes of Achilles tendonitis include: 1. Overuse – the tendon is stressed until it develops small tears. This is the MOST COMMON CAUSE & occurs more often in younger people, especially athletes, in particular runners. However, it can also be an injury unrelated to sport. 2. Arthritis – affected as part of a generalised inflammatory arthritis (NB: both tendons may be affected). e.g. ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis 3. Foot problems – some people with flat feet or hyperpronated feet (feet that turn inward while walking) are prone to Achilles tendonitis. The flattened arch pulls on calf muscles and keeps the Achilles tendon under tight strain. This constant mechanical stress on the heel and tendon can cause inflammation, pain and swelling of the tendon. 4. Footwear – wearing certain shoes can increase the risk, including: shoes with minimal support while walking or running & high heels 5. Being overweight–places more strain on many areas of the body, including the Achilles tendon 6. Some medications (including some antibiotics) – can be associated with inflammation of the tendon (NB: often affects both Achilles tendons and comes on soon after taking the drug)
What can you do? Your Podiatrist can diagnose Achilles Tendonitis by the following methods: 1. Taking a medical history, including your exercise habits and footwear 2. Physical examination, especially examining for thickness and tenderness of the Achilles tendon 3. Ordering tests to confirm the diagnosis – these may include x-ray of the foot, ultrasound and sometimes an MRI scan of the tendon.
They will be able and discuss the treatment options available as well as providing advice to help prevent it occurring again