Achilles Tendonitis

The inflammation or irritation of the Achilles tendon is referred to as Achilles tendonitis. Sports that place excess pressure on the lower legs often are the main cause of Achilles tendonitis but can also result from an increase or sudden change in the frequency or the intensity of exercise. If this condition is left untreated it can tear or rupture the tendon resulting in the need for surgery to correct the tendons damage.

Picture of Achilles Tendonitis

colorado foot institute achilles tendonitis

Symptoms

Achilles tendonitis symptoms develop gradually and often include; dull aching or pain, tenderness in the area, a stiffness that may lessen after gradual use of the tendons, a cracking sound as you use the affected tendons and or mild swelling. The affected tendon is also more prone to these symptoms after a long period of rest such as sleep, or sitting in the same position for a prolonged time, and worsens when the level of activity goes up in the area of the affected tendon. If your Achilles tendon has ruptured, there is often a lack of mobility in the heel and ankle as well as sudden pain and minor swelling. If you suspect you may have ruptured a tendon, consult Dr. Mechanik immediately to reduce the risk of more serious injury to the tendon.

Causes

Large amounts of stress suddenly put on the tendon can cause tiny tears causing it to inflame. This can be a result of poor conditioning, a large change in an exercise routine, infection and trauma or just a result of the flattening in the arch of the foot due to poor posture or non supportive shoes being worn.

Treatment for Achilles Tendonitis

There are a variety of treatments you may undergo to help heal the tendon including orthotic devices that help elevate the heel while walking to put less stress on the tendon, the use of boots and crutches, and surgery. Recommendation is for physical therapy, change in exercise or other treatments to aide in healing or repairing the damaged tendon. Unless the damage to the tendon is severe, surgery is offered as a last option.   Regardless in your treatment decision, a doctor should be consulted to help decide which treatment options are best for you and your lifestyle.

Prevention

While the prevention of chronic Achilles tendonitis is not always possible there are certain measures you can take to reduce the risk of Achilles heel tendonitis. Increasing the level of your exercise gradually to find your limits and to get the tendons and calf muscles used to being worked out and used more often will greatly lower your risk of Achilles tendonitis. Activities that put more stress on the tendons increase the risk of Achilles tendonitis so before these activities you should warm up and stretch and you should not participate in these activities for prolonged periods of time if at all possible. Often times, Achilles tendonitis can be avoided by wearing more supportive shoes that particularly support the arch of your foot. Strengthening the calf muscles along with cross-training will reduce the pressure put on the tendons during exercise and other activities, especially if you add low impact exercises into your daily routine. Taking the right precautions will reduce your risk of Achilles tendonitis however if symptoms occur talking to your doctor can help you get back to your daily routine.

Seek medical advice

If the pain you experience near the Achilles tendon or on the back of your heel does not get better with rest within a week you should seek the advice of a doctor. Some patients experience chronic Achilles tendonitis due to the tendon not being able to fully heal before exercise is resumed. The longer you wait the more damage that can be caused, including the tearing of the entire tendon, if this occurs the movement of toes is prohibited and surgery will be necessary to fix the tendon.

Let Us Help You

Dr. Mechanik is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and Board Certified in Reconstructive Rear Foot and Ankle Surgery and has the medical and surgical skills to treat your foot conditions. He and his family are natives of the Denver area.

Dr. Mechanik received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from the the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine which is part of the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, in 1995.

Dr. Mechanik then went on to complete a twenty-four (24) month post-graduate Residency training program in Foot and Ankle Surgery. Dr. Mechanik further advanced his surgical training when he completed his twenty-four (24) month Fellowship training program in Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Surgery.

Dr. Mechanik is Dual Board Certified in Foot Surgery and Reconstructive Rearfoot/Ankle Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and a  Diplomate, American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.

Dr. Mechanik is one of the few podiatrists in the United States with his extensive training.  Dr. Mechanik sees patients from all over Colorado, the United States, and Internationally.  Dr. Mechanik treats adult and pediatric foot and ankle conditions and he sees and follow all his patients from start to finish.

With his expertise in foot care, Dr. Mechanik can help you resolve your foot problems that maybe inhibiting your mobility or daily activities.  Call our office for a consultation at 303-333-3383.