Tendonitis, or tendinitis, is inflammation, irritation and swelling that affects a tendon. As you would expect, achilles tendinitis is inflammation of the tendon that links the two calf muscles at the back of the leg to the heel bone. The achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body. It is used for walking, jumping and running. If you suffer from achilles tendinitis, you have likely experienced pain and inflammation at the bottom of your foot. Other symptoms include moderate to severe pain along the back of your leg, pain that worsens with increased activity, tightness of the tendon, thickening of the tendon, or a bone spur. Achilles tendinitis can be caused by excessive use or repetitive motion places stress on the achilles tendon, such as in running, jumping rope.
For people living with achilles tendinitis, here are three non-surgical tips to try that can reduce or stop your symptoms:
1. Rest: Resting is the first thing you should do when you start experiencing pain. Pain is an indication that something is wrong; therefore, it should not be ignored. Decrease or stop any activity that is worsening your symptoms. For example, if you are someone who regularly participates in high-impact exercises (running, jumping rope, jumping jacks, aerobics) that place additional stress on your achilles tendon, switch to low-impact exercises. Swimming, biking, walking, and rowing are great low-impact exercises that put minimal stress on the achilles tendon.
2. Ice: Ice is another easy treatment because it can help reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain. Place an ice pack on the area the part of the achilles that is bothering you for up to 15 minutes a session. Be sure to remove the ice pack before numbness occurs. An ice pack can be used two to three times a day. If you do not have an ice pack, make your own. Simply put a couple handful ice cubes in a sandwich bag that securely closes and place it on the affected area.
3. Calf Exercises: Not all exercises increase stress on the achilles tendon. Calf stretching exercises can decrease stress and strain on the achilles tendon and strengthen the calf muscles. To start your calf exercises, brace yourself by placing both hands on a wall. Gently stretch out one leg behind you comfortably with your foot still flat on the floor. Put your opposite leg in front of you, ensuring your knee is slightly bent. Push your hips forward towards the wall in front of you and hold for 10 seconds. You should feel a moderate pull in your calf. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
If you live in the Atlanta area and your pain persists after using these tips, you should contact our Atlanta podiatry experts at American Foot and Leg Specialists and speak with one of our knowledgeable experts. With years of experience, you can rest easy knowing your feet are in capable hands.