Understanding Foot Pain: Achilles Tendonitis
Continuous and frequent strain on the Achilles tendons causes irritation and inflammation. In extreme cases, this strain may even cause the tendon to rupture...
Achilles Tendonitis (Tendinopathy) is a condition that involves the inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles Tendon is the longest tendon in the body, and its main function is to connect the calf muscles to the heel bone behind the ankle joint. When the calf muscles contract, they pull on the Achilles Tendon, causing your foot to point down and helping you rise on your toes.
Achilles pain occurs just above the back of the heel. Sufferers of this condition also experience tightness in the calf muscles. The Achilles Tendon may be noticeably thickened and tender to the touch in this area. Pain is present when walking, especially when pushing off on the toes.
What causes Achilles Tendonitis?
Continuous and frequent strain on the Achilles tendons causes irritation and inflammation. In extreme cases, this strain may even cause the tendon to rupture. Chronic overuse, especially in athletes and runners, may contribute to changes in the Achilles tendon as well. This overuse may also lead to degeneration and thickening of the tendon.
Tight calf muscles also contribute to Achilles Tendonitis (also called Tendinopathy). As we age, our tendons can degenerate, which means that wear and tear occur in the tendon over time, leading to weakness in the fibers of the tendon.
One of the most common causes for Achilles Tendonitis is the flattening of the arches also known as excessive pronation. When the feet roll inwards and the lower leg is forced to rotate internally, it creates a tearing force on the calf muscles. Since the calf muscles are connected to the Achilles tendon, the Achilles turns out to be the ‘weakest link’ in the chain. The Achilles tendon ends up being overstretched, resulting in irritation and inflammation.
Achilles Tendonitis pain relief and treatment
Simply Feet’s Custom Made Orthotics help prevent over-pronation by reducing the strain on the Achilles tendons, resting the tendons, and providing them with an opportunity to heal. Additionally, the orthotic device prevents this condition from worsening, thereby reducing the risk of a tendon rupture.
Did You Know?
The Achilles Tendon is a rope-like structure that connects the ankle bone to the powerful calf muscles in the back of the lower leg.
The name is derived from the mythological account of Achilles being held by the heel by his mother Thetis when she dipped him into the River Styx as a baby to render his body invulnerable. Since the heel never touched the water, it was the only vulnerable area that lead to his demise by a painful poisonous dart to that region. An interesting story which encapsulates the rather disabling and painful effects of an injury to this tendon that is a common problem affecting an estimated 200,000 people per year.
Injury or congenital and acquired biomechanical deficiencies lead to micro-tears and shearing of the tendon anywhere along the tendon path but most commonly at the back of the heel.
Inflammation and swelling can last several months but healing time may be reduced by a deep heel-cupped orthotic with a built-in heel lift to lessen the strain on the Achilles tendon.