If your weekend tennis match has left you with heel pain and a tender calf, you may be experiencing the effects of Achilles tendonitis. This common overuse injury, which affects the band of tissue that connects your calf muscle to your heel bone, is usually caused by placing too much demand on your feet and legs. At Universal Footcare in New York City, board-certified podiatrist Neha J. Pathak, DPM provides complete care for patients with Achilles problems, including tendonitis. Call Dr. Pathak’s office in Chelsea to book your appointment online today.
Your Achilles tendon is a tough band of fibrous tissue that connects the lower part of your calf muscle with your heel bone. Because it helps provide push-off power when you’re walking or running, your Achilles tendon is routinely under pressure.
When that pressure becomes too frequent or great, it can inflame the tendon. This condition, known as Achilles tendonitis, is often accompanied by some degree of tissue degeneration, particularly among middle-aged and older adults.
As an overuse injury, Achilles tendonitis commonly occurs in runners who suddenly increase the intensity or duration of their training. It’s also common for weekend warriors who play intense sports like tennis or soccer.
Factors making you more prone to developing Achilles tendonitis include:
People with certain medical conditions, including high blood pressure and psoriasis, are also more likely to develop Achilles inflammation.
Having pain behind your heel that extends up toward your calf is a tell-tale sign of Achilles tendonitis. It may begin as a mild ache just above your heel or along the lower part of the back of your leg after a run or some other intense activity.
Some people with Achilles tendonitis also experience the gradual onset of tenderness or stiffness through the back of the heel and ankle. These symptoms are usually at their worst first thing in the morning but tend to improve with moderate activity. Intense or prolonged activity, however, can cause symptoms to flare-up.
Your Achilles tendon becomes weaker as you age. An overuse injury like tendonitis can weaken it even further, causing tissue degeneration and increasing your chances of suffering a more severe injury in the future such as a tear or rupture.
Self-care measures, including rest and cold therapy, can go a long way in reducing inflammation and helping your Achilles tendon heal quickly. You’ll want to stay off your feet as much as possible for several days, and apply ice to the area for up to 20 minutes at least three or four times daily. Compression, elevation, and anti-inflammatory medications are other good self-care strategies.
Long-term care typically includes Dr. Pathak recommending targeted physical therapy exercises, Achilles-specific stretches, low-impact cross-training activities, and custom-made orthotic devices for optimal foot support. Achilles tendonitis doesn’t usually require surgery unless the tendon has torn or ruptured.
If you have heel or calf pain that just won’t go away, call Dr. Pathak at Universal Footcare today or book your appointment online.