FootCareDirect Footcare Resource

Heel Pain : Achilles Tendonitis

 

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis, is pain at the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel. The pain typically becomes worse if you exercise or play sports, and it often is followed by soreness, stiffness and mild swelling.

The achilles tendon is the co-joined tendon of the Gastrocnemius and the soleus muscle which form the thickened tendon at the back of the leg as it inserts into the heel bone. This structure becomes inflamed and damaged from a variety of mechanical forces:

  • it can be related to poorly fitting shoes if the upper back portion of a shoe digs into the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel.
  • pronation (inward tilting of the heel) or supination (outward tilting of the heel)
  • excessive weight
  • over-use, such as running or tennis or other sport activities
  • metabolic problems, such as diabetes, arthritis or even gout can play a major role in inflammation of the achilles tendon. However, most achilles tendon problems are mechanical in nature.

Treatment:

The following devices are usually effective in controlling this altered biomechanical problem:

Diagram of foot showing Achilles Tendon
  • The Achilles Tendon Strap and the Achilles Heel Pad are very good in over-use injuries that runners would experience.

  • Shortened achilles tendons (equinus deformities) are usually acquired by people who have worn high heeled shoes (any heel that is over an inch high) and who experience pain when they try to go down to a lower heeled shoe. The achilles shortening is best relieved with stretching exercises. The Passive Night Splint, and the Pro Tec Night Splint are excellent items for self-help in stretching out the achilles tendon. Some cases may need surgical lengthening.

  • People that have excessive pronation or supination are best controlled with an orthotic device. See the orthotics page for the type of orthotic that would be best suited for you.

  • Medical treatment would consist of anti-inflammatories, ice packs, and rest. Neuro-Eze, Boswella Cream & Boswella capsules are good topical anti-inflammatory medications.

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