Achilles Tendonitis Plagues More Than Just Athletes
sometimes feel a burning pain above your heel with every step you take,
you might have achilles tendonitis, a condition that plagues athletes
and non-athletes alike.
tendonitis is caused by inflammation and degeneration of the achilles
tendon, the large tendon located in the back of the leg and inserted
into the heel. This tendon can be aggravated by activities that
repeatedly stress the area, such as running, jumping or other pounding
sports, or can be injured by a single traumatic event, according to
Foot.com experts. Achilles tendonitis also can be caused by not
stretching regularly before exercise or by wearing high heels that
cause the tendon to shrink and become more vulnerable to injury.
In some cases
a heel bone deformity or even long periods of standing can cause
symptoms. The pain sometimes lessens during activity.
achilles tendonitis include a shooting or burning pain, or an extremely
piercing pain, according to Dr. Suzanne Belyea, medical director of
will be in the area in the back of the heel, and can also be perceived
as tenderness upon rising first thing in the morning or after sitting
for an extended period of time," said Belyea. "If the condition is
aggravated by a shoe rubbing against the tendon, you might see redness
and feel soreness to the touch."
factors can contribute to the onset of achilles tendonitis, Belyea
said. The most common is over-pronation, or flat feet, which occurs
when the arch of the foot collapses upon bearing weight, putting stress
on the achilles tendon. Improper shoe selection also can lead to the
your footwear is important if you are suffering from achilles
tendonitis," Belyea said. "You want to look for a good, supportive
athletic shoe that has an 'achilles notch' to reduce rubbing and
irritation in the area."
tendonitis often is experienced by athletes, particularly distance
runners. But it is difficult to treat in athletes because of their high
level of activity and reluctance to stop or slow down their training,
Foot.com experts said.
should not be left untreated, however, because the tendon can become
weaker and eventually rupture, causing a serious injury that is much
more difficult to treat, according to Foot.com. Statistics show that
men between the ages of 35 and 50 have an increased likelihood of
rupturing the achilles tendon because they tend to be "weekend
warriors," exercising on weekends without proper preparation or
stretching on a regular basis.
particularly runners, with achilles tendonitis should stretch carefully
to warm up the muscles before exercise, said Belyea. They also should
decrease the distance of their walk or run, apply ice after the
activity and avoid any uphill climbs.
If over-pronation is the problem, a ready-made posted orthotic can be used to correct it, Foot.com
notes. In many cases, a heel cup or heel cradle will help by elevating
the heel to reduce stress and pressure on the achilles tendon. These
devices should be made with light-weight, shock-absorbing materials,
according to Foot.com.
tendonitis is treated properly and the correct orthotic is used for the
specific biomechanical problem being experienced by the patient, relief
should be possible in one to two weeks, Belyea said.