Tendonitis is the inflammation of tendon. A tendon is a thick cord that attaches a muscle to a bone. Achilles tendonitis is characterized by the inflammation of the tendon that attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone. It most often occurs in athletes and particularly runners, but can occur in anyone who is active. It can occur in men and women of all ages. An estimated 11% of all running injuries are due to Achilles tendonitis. The most frequent causes of Achilles tendonitis include: a repetitive stress to the tendon, an inadequate warm up before intense exercise, running on hard or uneven surfaces, wearing inappropriate shoes while running or walking, a quick increase in running distance/speed/intensity, or inherently flat arches.
The Achilles tendon originates from the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles which form the bulk of the calf. These muscles work together to point the toes. Therefore these muscles are very active during the push-off part of each stride while walking or running. When the tendon is stressed beyond its normal capacity (as in the cases listed above) it can become inflamed and can experience a degenerative loss of normal fiber structure. This leads to heel pain that can range from mild to severe and often interferes with running.
If you have noticed gradually increasing heel pain or heel pain that occurs when you walk or run you may have Achilles tendonitis. You may notice a swelling around where the tendon attaches to the heel bone and may even experience decreased strength and motion in your ankle. If not treated properly these symptoms can lead to more serious conditions such as a tendon tear or rupture, therefore it is important to act early. Thankfully this is a fairly treatable condition if you take the appropriate steps. If you have increased your run mileage very quickly you should cut back and once your symptoms are lessened, gradually increase your mileage. You also need to make sure you are in the right shoes that offer the correct amount of support and cushioning for your particular foot type.
A physical therapist can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and help put you on your way to recovery. They will help design a program to strengthen and stretch the surrounding muscles leading to increased ankle support. They can also help treat your pain with certain modalities and manual techniques.
If you are experiencing pain in your heel that has gradually increased or is worse when you are running or walking then you should speak to your doctor about beginning physical therapy treatment. Physical therapy can help you avoid a tendon tear or rupture which can end in surgery.
Hohman Rehab offers one on one physical therapy treatment by a licensed Physical Therapist who has experience treating people with heel pain or other sports related pain and injury. Call (855) 404-6908 for more information and to get started on a road to less day to day joint pain. We treat patients with foot pain and tendonitis in the Clermont 34711 and the Ocoee 34761 area.