We all have a tendon in our legs known as the Achilles tendon which attaches the calf muscles the heel bone; it allows you to walk, jump and run as well as making it possible to stand on the balls of your feet. But when you have a continuous and intense physical activity like the ones mentioned above then it can result in a painful inflammation of that tendon a problem known as Achilles tendonitis. However, sometimes there are other unrelated factors to the physical exercises which can also contribute to Achilles Tendonitis. Such include Rheumatoid arthritis and an infection.
Some of the causes of Achilles Tendonitis are as follows
• Wearing poorly fitted shoes
• Some sports such as tennis which require quick stops and change of direction
• Exercising without doing a proper warm up
• Strain on the calf muscles during exercises
• Prolonged wearing of heels
How Is Achilles Tendonitis Diagnosed?
Your doctor will perform some physical observations along with asking you a few questions concerning your pain and swelling in the heel. The doctor will ask you to stand on the balls of your feet, and he will feel the area around where you feel most painful, and the swelling is severe. Although you will not need them, using imaging tests can also help to confirm it when necessary. These tests include X-rays, MRI scans, and ultrasounds which provide images, detect rupture or tissue degeneration and show related damage to tendon movement.
Treating Achilles Tendonitis
In regards to the severity of your problem, the doctor might suggest any of the treatments ranging from resting and using ibuprofen to steroid injections and surgery. The first treatment will be to reduce your physical activity. Aside from that, your doctor will most probably suggest that you do the following
• Go to physical therapy
• Use a walking boot or wear a brace to restrict heel movement
• Foot elevation to reduce swelling
• Opt for a less strenuous sport
Using the RICE Method
It is usually useful for the treatment of Achilles Tendonitis just after having the injury. It entails rest, ice, compression and elevation and works in the following way
Rest- you will not put pressure or weight on the tendon for at least two days until the time that you can walk without feeling any pain. It heals faster if there is no additional strain.
Ice- using a bag of ice wrapped in a clothing material and then placing the bag against your skin. You will hold it against the tendon for about 20 minutes. The ice serves to help your inflammation go down faster.
Compression- you can use a bandage, clothing or athletic tape to tie it around the tendon so as to compress the injury. It will help keep the tendon from swelling too much but remember not to tie too tightly.
Elevation- raise your foot above the level of your chest. It works to maintain the swelling down because blood will be returning to the heart as a result of your foot being higher than your heart. It is easier when you use a pillow.
If you seek treatment earlier and follow the instructions of your doctor, then you will be more likely to recover quickly.