The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body.
This tendon is a thick, cord-like structure that inserts into the back of the heel bone, and it’s located in one of the most overused and under-appreciated parts of the foot.
Our feet are subjected to great amounts of stress every day. For example, the pressure on each foot when we run can be up to four times our body weight!
Because of this stress and its location in the body, the Achilles tendon is very prone to injury.
One of these common injuries is Achilles tendinitis. This is an inflammation of the tendon that can significantly limit your ability to jog, walk comfortably or hike.
Symptoms usually include burning pain, aching, sharpness or tenderness of the back of the heel. The pain can occur where the tendon attaches to heel bone, or a couple inches above it. There are many causes of Achilles tendinitis, but the most common are training errors, calf muscle inflexibility, and biomechanical abnormalities.
Training errors include increasing your workout intensity too suddenly or changing your running terrain too abruptly. Inflexibility of the calf muscle can result from improper or inadequate stretching, although some people are born with tight muscles.
The Achilles tendon also has relatively low blood supply, which is why these injuries take a longer time to heal.
This makes early treatment even more necessary to prevent a tear or chronic pain.
If you are experiencing symptoms of Achilles tendinitis, you should reduce or stop your sports activities and ice the back of your Achilles tendon three times a day for 30 minutes until the pain subsides.
Using heel lifts in both shoes can also help take the stress off the tendon.
If your pain lingers for more than two weeks, schedule an appointment with us for a more thorough evaluation and we’ll see how we can help. While Achilles tendinitis can be slow to heal, with the right care you will do great.