Achilles Tendinitis is often confused with plantar fasciitis as they both can involve having burning, stinging pain in the heel. Where the pain is generated is the determining factor. If the pain is on the bottom of the heel and perhaps arch, then most likely you have plantar fasciitis. If the pain is coming from the upper part of your heel (you can actually touch and feel the spot where the pain is) then you probably have Achilles Tendinitis.
If you look at an illustration of Achilles Tendinitis, you can see that the tendon runs from the heel up the back of the leg and connects your calf muscle to the heel bone. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and is used for walking, running and jumping.
While the Achilles tendon can withstand a great deal of pressure, it can become problematic from repeated stresses to the area associated with overuse and degeneration. Increasing your exercise or the distance you run by a few miles can aggravate the tendon. It’s always best to increase gradually to give your body a chance to adjust.
Most patients report that the pain is worse when getting out of bed in the morning or after sitting for a period of time and then standing. What has happened is your leg becomes relaxed along with the Achilles tendon and when you put stress on it the tender tendon pulls tight and causes the pain.
Tips for treating once you know you have Achilles Tendinitis:
• Stretch your calf muscle throughout the day by leaning on a wall with one knee straight and the heel on the ground. Place the other leg in front, with the knee bent. To stretch the calf muscles and the heel cord, push your hips toward the wall in a controlled fashion. Hold the position for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat this exercise 20 times for each foot. A strong pull in the calf should be felt during the stretch.
• Stretch and flex foot and ankle before getting out of bed in the morning and before getting out of the car.
• Apply ice on the affected area for 10 minutes twice a day.
• Your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory like Advil, ibuprofen.
• Limit your use of the stairs as this puts pressure on the Achilles tendon.
• No running or jumping until the Achilles Tendon has an opportunity to heal.
• Wear running shoes when walking as this helps to elevate the heel slightly.
• Try to avoid hills when you are walking and look for more flat surfaces.
• Wearing shoes with a low wedge or heel might be a good choice for daily wear. There are orthotics you can purchase at American Foot and leg specifically for Achilles Tendinitis.
These are all tips that you can try yourself and for most people are effective. Typically Achilles Tendinitis will heal in about 3 months. If it lasts longer or you hear or feel a pop in the area contact one of the doctors at American Foot and leg Specialists. You may have a ruptured tendon and will need immediate attention.
American Foot and Leg Specialists have 4 locations south of Atlanta: Stockbridge, Forest Park, Fayetteville, and Locust Grove.