The Achilles tendon is a section of tissue connecting the bone in the heel to the muscles. It is named after the mythical Greek hero Achilles, who was killed when he was hit by an arrow in his heel, which was his weak spot.

This tendon is the largest tendon in the body. Like all tendons, it is strong but not flexible. Because of this, overuse and stretching of this delicate point can cause inflammation and may even lead to a tear in the tendon. This inflammation and tearing is referred to as Achilles tendonitis.

Achilles Tendonitis and Foot and Leg Pain

Foot and leg pain can be a result of Achilles tendonitis. This commonly includes sudden and severe pain above the heel or at the back of the leg. Stiffness in these areas in the morning can also usually be a consequence of this condition.

Achilles tendonitis can lead to the rupture of the tendon, making it even more painful. A tendon rupture may require surgery to correct.

Why Does Achilles Tendonitis Occur?

The main reason for Achilles tendonitis is strain of the tendon that happens repetitively. This usually happens due to sports-related injuries and occurs most often in men and among those who are middle-aged or older.

When someone takes up a sport out of nowhere or plays a sport like tennis that involves a lot of starting and stopping, it can strain this tendon. A sudden increase in physical activity like running can also lead to strain on the tendon.

People who have a flat arch on their foot are at risk of developing Achilles tendonitis. Cold weather and the side-effects of certain antibiotics can also increase the risk of developing this painful issue.

How Is It Treated?

Rest is one of the best ways to reduce strain on the tendon and alleviate pain. An ice pack on the tendon can also help with this. Raising the foot above the level of the heart while sleeping is another good way to reduce swelling.

Commonly, Achilles tendonitis is treated using painkillers. Physiotherapy can also be used to relieve the pain. A wedge may be inserted into the shoe to elevate the heel and reduce the pressure exerted on the tendon while walking.

Usually, over-the-counter medicines and gentle exercises are enough to treat this condition. However, in severe situations like a torn tendon, surgery may be needed to fix the problem.

Can Achilles Tendonitis Be Prevented?

While you cannot prevent Achilles tendonitis, the risk can be reduced by wearing proper shoes while playing sports and running. Performing stretching exercises and increasing the intensity of physical activities gradually are great ways to reduce stress on the tendon.

Schedule Your Consultation to Find Out More

If you’re suffering from the signs of Achilles tendonitis and want to restore your quality of life, schedule a consultation with Bay Area Foot Care. Our team of skilled experts will examine your feet to diagnose your condition and then recommend the best course of action to resolve your issues.