By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
May 25, 2017
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To beat the increasing heat as summer approaches, you decide to move your exercise routine indoors. You start working out on the treadmill but it doesn’t seem very challenging—until you discover the incline programs. You increase the slope and the amount of time you’re walking until you really feel like you’re burning calories. The next day, however, when you get out of bed, you can hardly walk. The area in the back of your lower leg between your heel and your calf is so sore and stiff. If this or a similar scenario sounds familiar, chances are you’ve aggravated your Achilles tendon, a condition patients frequently bring to us at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care.

Inflaming the Tendon

Sudden increase in the intensity or duration of your exercise program or starting a sport or fitness routine too quickly after a period of inactivity are common causes of Achilles tendonitis but there are other causes of this disorder too. The condition of overpronation or flat feet puts excess pressure on the Achilles tendon. In addition, certain gait abnormalities may inflame the Achilles tendon since it is the band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the calf muscle and is instrumental in raising your heel off the ground when you walk.

Treatment and Prevention

Our foot and ankle doctors, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah, will start by examining your foot and ankle and assessing the condition of the Achilles tendon and its range of motion. X-rays or other digital imaging studies may be ordered to help confirm a diagnosis or rule out other causes of pain in this area.

There are several ways to help relieve the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis. First, you will need to stop whatever activity is causing the inflammation and give the tendon a rest. If you are experiencing significant pain, the foot doctor may recommend that you ice the area or take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen. Night splints, custom orthotics and physical therapy are all possible treatment options depending on the cause and severity of your symptoms.

You can help reduce the risk of future episodes of Achilles tendonitis by taking the time to stretch your calf muscles before and after exercising or physical work. Wearing properly fitted shoes that are designed for the activity or sport you are participating in will also help.

If you are experiencing stiffness, tenderness or pain in your Achilles tendon, contact us to make an appointment at our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office by calling: 732-662-3050.