Your Achilles tendon is a thick, strong band of connective tissue that attaches your calf muscle to the heel bone (calcaneus). You can feel it when you run your fingers along the lowest part of your leg, just behind the ankle. This tendon is responsible for helping control the movement and stability of your ankle joint and is involved in many dynamic activities including jumping, running, and pivoting.
When it Might be Achilles Tendonitis
Any time you see a word ending in “-itis,” you can safely assume that something is inflamed and irritated. With Achilles tendonitis, inflammation of the tendon leads to symptoms including:
- Pain in the tendon, heel, and lower leg that is worse with activity and first thing in the morning
- Stiffness in the tendon and ankle joint
- Swelling and thickening of the tendon
Keep in mind that if the tendon becomes thicker, this does not necessarily mean it is becoming stronger. This thickening often occurs as a result of scar tissue formation, which is notably less elastic and pliable compared to normal tendon tissue. As a result, your ankle can become even more stiff and weak over time, especially if the condition isn’t managed appropriately.
Common Causes & Risk Factors for Achilles Tendonitis
Unlike certain sports injuries that tend to be caused by a frank trauma or a specific precipitating event, Achilles tendonitis tends to develop over time as a result of repetitive stress and strain. The “too much, too soon” blunder that many of us fall prey to is often a major cause. Additional causes or risk factors for developing Achilles tendonitis may include:
- Bone spurs (visible on digital X-rays), or spots of excess bone growth from the calcaneus that can rub against and irritate the tendon
- Shortened calf muscles and/or inflexible ankles
- Overweight and obesity
- Poor, unsupportive footwear
- Improper sports technique
Treatment Options for Achilles Tendonitis
In the early stages of Achilles tendonitis, the main goals are to reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation. It’s also important to prevent additional tissue damage. Our team of Ramsey pain management clinicians and therapists achieve these goals through services including regenerative medicine, electrical stimulation, cryotherapy, and acupuncture. We’ll also provide thorough screens of your posture and movement mechanics to help identify any issues that may be contributing to your injury.
During the sub-acute stages of a recovery, our goal shifts to maximizing joint range of motion and increase the strength and stability of your ankle. Physical therapy exercises and osteopathic manipulations are very useful for this, as are other services.
Has Your Lower Leg & Heel Been Sore Lately? It Could be Achilles Tendonitis! Call Our Ramsey Pain Management Doctors Today
If you’ve been diagnosed with Achilles tendonitis, our team here at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine can help you get back on your feet. Our comprehensive selection of nonsurgical orthopedic and therapeutic solutions have helped thousands of people from Ramsey and surrounding Northern New Jersey communities recover from their injuries. To schedule an appointment with one of our Ramsey pain management doctors, Dr. Steven Ferrer or Dr. Kevin McElroy, or if you’d like to learn more about our nonsurgical pain management services, then call us today at (201) 962-9199.