Although the phrase “Achilles’ heel” may be a well known expression for “weakness amidst overall strength”, the real facts about the Achilles tendon and its potential injuries are less commonly understood. Many patients are unaware that Achilles tendonitis is a common condition among middle-aged recreational athletes. However, if you or someone you love is suffering from pain in the Achilles tendon, it may be time to talk to a doctor at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute. Our specialized Achilles pain tendonitis physicians have the expertise and experience necessary to answer all of your questions and to provide the treatment you or your loved one may need.
What is the Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles tendon is a strong, fibrous cord that connects the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone. Without proper stretching, this tendon can become very tight, which may result in injuries such as Achilles pain, tendonitis, or even rupturing. Just four or five minutes of stretching a couple times a day can help to keep the Achilles tendon healthy and may prevent injuries when you go about your daily activities.
What is Achilles Tendonitis?
Achilles Tendonitis is a condition characterized by inflammation and irritation of the Achilles tendon. Symptoms include pain and swelling in the heel, especially when it is used for physical activity, including walking or running. Other symptoms may include the feeling of tightness or a limited range of motion when flexing (extending or dorsiflexing) the foot.
This condition is a fairly common overuse injury, especially among middle-aged recreational athletes. With overuse of the heel, symptoms like those mentioned above may manifest. Additionally, Achilles tendonitis can also lead to a series of tears within the tendon, making it susceptible to rupture. Because of this potential for further damage if left untreated, it is important to seek out help from one of Rothman Orthopaedic Institute’s Achilles pain tendonitis physicians. Such early treatment can help you to avoid further injury and allow you to return to those activities you love.
How is this Condition Treated?
The best way to treat Achilles tendonitis and the resulting pain is prevention. Stretching the Achilles tendon prior to exercise, and even at the beginning to the day, will help to promote ankle flexibility. In cases where foot mechanics contribute to tendonitis, shoe inserts such as heel cups or arch supports can help.
When Achilles tendonitis does develop, there are a number of different nonoperative treatments that prove effective. These include:
- Rest: After the onset of symptoms, a period of rest is important because it allows the swelling to subside and allow healing.
- Immobilization: If symptoms are more severe, immobilization may be more effective. A removable walking boot or cast can quickly allow the inflamed tendon to cool.
- Ice: When applied to the area of swelling, ice can help to stimulate blood flow and relieve pain. Patients with recurring symptoms should use ice several times a day, especially after exercise.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Both the pain and swelling of Achilles tendonitis can be improved with non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).
- Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can help you form a stretching and rehabilitation program to improve flexibility and prevent future injury to the Achilles tendon.
Before beginning any of these treatments, it is important to talk with a doctor.
Although most cases of Achilles tendonitis can be resolved with nonoperative treatment, surgery may be necessary to repair damaged portions of the tendon in recurrent cases. To help prevent this necessity, make sure you talk with an Achilles pain tendonitis physician early on.
Where Can I Find Achilles Pain Tendonitis Physicians?
If you or someone you love is suffering from the pain of Achilles tendonitis, it is important to get help before the condition worsens. If you live in or around Philadelphia, the best Achilles pain tendonitis physicians are nearby at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute.Specializing in orthopedics of the foot and ankle, these doctors have the unique knowledge necessary to provide you or your loved one with the best possible care.
For more information or to make an appointment, contact Rothman Orthopaedic Institute today at 1.800.321.9999.