The Achilles tendon is the longest, widest, and strongest tendon of the body. It is located at the back of the leg where the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles attaches with the heel bone. The Achilles tendon plays a major role when walking, running and jumping. Which exposes the Achilles tendon to a lot of stress and abuse.
Blood supply comes from the muscles above and the bony attachment below. Because of its anatomy, there is an area in the center where blood supply is inadequate. It creates a weak spot due to inadequate nutrition.
Achilles tendinitis is a condition that refers to the deterioration of the Achilles tendon due to inflammation. It can be caused by an overused Achilles tendon. Repetitive activities, postural problems, sudden twisting injuries, or degenerative conditions like arthritis contribute to the development of Achilles tendinitis. This condition can also be seen in young people, especially athletes and active individuals.
Diagnosis of Achilles Tendinitis
Podiatrists look for tell-tale signs such as enlargement of the tendon, pain that can be experienced just by gently squeezing of the tendon, or weakness just by walking. Other tests that can help in the diagnosis of the Achilles tendinitis include: Magnetic resonance imaging, x-ray or ultrasound. The doctors of The Podiatry Group are podiatrists who specialize in helping people suffering from Achilles tendinitis.
Managing Achilles Tendinitis
The patient should always consult a podiatrist first and strict compliance with the treatment regimen is a must. Pain medications are prescribed for chronic pain. Other treatments include:
1. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs
2. Wearing of orthotics or arch supports
3. Using of proper foot wear
4. Physical therapy
5. Applying hot and cold compress to the affected area
6. Steroid or cortisone injections
7. Wearing of brace or cast
If pain persists, other modes of treatment can be planned. This includes Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) that is used to break up early calcification within the tendon, low-level laser therapy of the Achilles tendon and surgery that may involve the tendon itself or the bone where the tendon is attached.
At The Podiatry Group, located in Jonesboro, Walnut Ridge, Pocahontas and Cherokee Village, we specialize in helping people find relief from Achilles Tendinitis and other foot problems. To schedule an appointment call (870) 931-3338.