The Achilles tendon, which runs from your calf muscles to your heels, is the largest tendon in your body, and a common site of foot and ankle pain. At Local Foot Doc, located in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, board-certified podiatrist Waldemar Majdanski, DPM, FACFAS, and his team of doctors are experienced in diagnosing and treating Achilles tendinitis. For your convenience, there are two offices in Brooklyn and locations in the Queens neighborhoods of Woodhaven, Forest Hills, and Astoria. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone.
Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons, thick bands of tissue that connect your muscles to your bones. Tendons allow your joints to move correctly.
Healthy tendons work like rubber bands, stretching and snapping back into place, but they can tear if they receive greater force than they can handle.
As the largest and strongest tendon in your body, your Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to your heel bones and is especially vulnerable to tendinitis.
That’s because you use your Achilles tendon for so much, including walking, running, and jumping. Achilles tendinitis is one of the most common causes of foot and ankle pain among athletes.
Achilles tendinitis causes pain in the back of your leg or above your heel. Usually, the pain is at its worst right after a run or when you first wake up and then subsides. Your leg may also be swollen, stiff, or tender.
Achilles tendinitis can weaken the tendon, putting you at greater risk for tendon injuries such as tears and ruptures.
Tendinitis is an overuse injury. When you put repetitive stress or pressure on your Achilles tendon, it may start to stretch and tear, leading to pain and inflammation.
As you get older, your Achilles tendons become weaker and less flexible. That means your risk of Achilles tendon injuries increases with age.
Tendinitis is especially common among people who are middle-aged or older and who only participate in sports on weekends. Other risk factors for Achilles tendinitis include:
Achilles tendinitis affects men more often than women. Although the condition is associated with athletic activity, you may also develop it if you work a physically demanding job.
To allow your Achilles tendon to heal and prevent further injury, the doctors at Local Foot Doc recommend the “RICE” protocol: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
You don’t necessarily have to stop exercising as you heal. Your doctor may recommend exercise, such as swimming, that doesn’t put pressure on the affected tendon.
To manage the pain of Achilles tendinitis, your doctor recommends over-the-counter inflammatory medication and can prescribe stronger medication as necessary.
Physical therapy can strengthen your Achilles tendon. Your doctor may also recommend orthotics, custom-made shoe inserts, to cushion the tendon and relieve pressure.
In some cases, Achilles tendinitis doesn’t improve with conservative treatment, or you may sustain a tear or other injury to your tendon before it fully heals. Your doctor may recommend stem cell therapy to promote healing or surgery to repair your tendon.
If you’ve been experiencing foot and ankle pain, schedule an appointment at Local Foot Doc online or over the phone for expert diagnosis and treatment.