If pain and stiffness are experienced in the back of the heel, you may be suffering from an Achilles tendon injury. This is the thickest tendon in the body and its purpose is to connect the back of the heel to the calf muscle. Runners are often afflicted by Achilles tendon conditions because of the force of the impact that occurs when the foot meets the ground. People with compromised immune systems may be at risk for injuring an Achilles tendon, and having flat feet or weakened calf muscles may also be contributing factors. Achilles tendonitis generally begins with a dull ache in the back of the heel and if ignored, the pain in the tendon may become severe, possibly affecting the ability to run or walk. An Achilles tendon rupture is a much more immediate injury that is extremely painful. A consultation with a podiatrist is suggested for information about proper exercises and treatment that will aid in healing the Achilles tendon.
Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. Jeffrey Wachtel of Wachtel Family Foot Care. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
What is the Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can create immense difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.
What are the symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?
There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common injuries are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.
Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms
- Dull to severe pain
- Increased blood flow to the tendon
- Thickening of the tendon
- Extreme pain and swelling in the foot
- Total immobility
Treatment and Prevention
Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation, which can include an MRI. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:
- Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise
- Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses
If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Lansdale, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.