The fibrous band of tissue that links the muscles in your calf to your heel is called the Achilles tendon. This tendon is important for many physical activities, including jumping, running, and walking. Since it is used so frequently, the Achilles tendon undergoes a lot of stress, and too much stress can lead to injury. If the tendon becomes inflamed, swollen, or irritated, then tendonitis is occurring. Tendonitis can cause pain in the back of the leg and around the heel. The tendon can also thicken and harden; if these symptoms are occurring, then it is important to treat it before it gets worse. Complications can arise if this condition is not treated, such as severe pain, difficulty walking, deformation in either the tendon area or heel bone, and tendon rupture. If you think you may have tendonitis, it is recommended to consult with a podiatrist about treatment.
Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. Stephen S. Pirotta of Advanced Foot & Ankle Clinics. 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 Bentonville, AR. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.