Getting older, fighting the battle of the bulge, and being a couch potato during the week but working out like crazy on weekends can all contribute to a condition that causes pain along the back of your lower leg.
Achilles tendonitis emerges when your Achilles tendon — the sizable band of connective tissue that joins your calf muscles to your heel bones — becomes inflamed.
Our podiatry team at Premier Foot & Ankle, with five convenient Texas locations, provides expert and compassionate care for anyone suffering with Achilles tendonitis symptoms. You’re never just a number at Premier Foot & Ankle. Rather, we take a deep dive into your history of pain and other symptoms, health history, and other factors to create a treatment plan that’s designed especially for you.
How do I know if I have Achilles tendonitis?
Your podiatrist’s diagnosis, of course, is the most definitive declaration if you have Achilles tendonitis, but other telltale signs in addition to the pain in the lower portion of the back of your leg include:
- Tenderness and noticeable swelling
- An achiness that can range from mild to excruciating
- Pain concentrated at the back of your heel
- Stiffness if it’s been a while since you’ve been active
- Problems putting weight on your affected leg
This condition delivers a double whammy of both pain and limited mobility that can alter your quality of life considerably.
What can I do to ensure my Achilles tendonitis doesn’t return?
We’ll discuss the treatments that make a difference for Achilles tendonitis sufferers, but before that, let’s talk about what you can do at home to reduce the chances of it coming back.
1. Keep your weight in check
Being overweight or obese puts you at higher risk for Achilles tendonitis, so do everything you can to lose weight if you need to, or maintain a healthy weight if you’re there already. This means eating a healthy diet full of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean protein, along with getting regular exercise (instead of only on the weekends).
2. Tend to flat feet
If you have flat feet, see your podiatrist to get the condition addressed. With treatments like orthotics and physical therapy, you’ll not only get care to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms flat feet cause, like arch pain and reduced range of motion, you’ll be troubleshooting potential Achilles tendonitis too.
3. Wear proper footwear
Achilles tendonitis can be caused by shoes that don’t fit correctly or offer enough support. Buy well-made shoes that match the activity or sport you’re participating in and offer these features to keep symptoms at bay.
4. Don’t stress your feet
When you exercise, don’t be too intense and jump into a sport abruptly, which can lead to foot strain and possibly Achilles tendonitis. And if you run, for example, look for surfaces that are even and smooth rather than bumpy and unpredictable.
5. Check your medications
Believe it or not, certain antibiotics can lead to Achilles tendonitis. If you do have to take a course of antibiotics, ask your doctor whether they’re prescribing one that ups your chances of having an Achilles tendonitis flare. If it does, request an alternative option.
With Achilles tendonitis, some risk factors aren’t modifiable, like your age and gender — men tend to be affected more than women — but taking these tips into account can do a lot toward ensuring that your Achilles tendonitis pain doesn’t return.
Another thing to keep in mind is that by avoiding a recurrence of Achilles tendonitis, you also don’t have to worry about other issues this condition can lead to, including Achilles tendinosis, when your tendon actually degenerates, or even a full-on Achilles tendon rupture, which needs immediate attention.
How does my podiatrist treat my Achilles tendonitis?
Fortunately, the Premier Foot & Ankle team has a host of treatment options we can offer you for Achilles tendonitis discomfort. These include medical devices like custom-made orthotics, heel lifts, and splints you wear while you sleep.
We may also recommend taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), working with a physical therapist, and stretching exercises to do at home.
Other advanced treatments include extracorporeal pulse activation treatment, or EPATⓇ therapy, a noninvasive pressure wave treatment to stimulate tissue regeneration, and multiwave locked system (MLS) laser therapy.
If you and your podiatrist find that conservative treatments aren’t successful in providing relief for your Achilles tendonitis symptoms, they typically suggest Achilles tendon surgery, during which they remove tissue that’s damaged, graft connective tissues, and perform other repairs. After you recover, you’ll be free of Achilles tendonitis pain and movement limitations.
Contact Premier Foot & Ankle to schedule an exam to learn more about your Achilles tendonitis treatment options. Call our location closest to you today, or book an appointment online anytime.