It’s common for podiatrists to see patients with pain at the back of the leg, located roughly between the bottom of the calf muscle and the heel. While other diagnoses are possible, the cause of the discomfort is most often Achilles tendonitis.
Throughout the body, muscles are anchored to the bone by tendons, strong, rope-like soft tissue structures. When tendons become irritated, tendonitisoccurs. The tendon that connects the calf muscle to the back of the heel is called the Achilles tendon, named for a character in Greek mythology. When that particular tendon becomes inflamed, that’s Achilles tendonitis. It is often accompanied not only by pain, but also by swelling, tenderness, and restricted mobility.
While anyone can get Achilles tendonitis – it often affects people who are overweight or obese or those who have flat feet or high arches – it most commonly strikes men over 30 who regularly run or engage in court sports such as basketball or tennis.
Does that sound like you? You can take steps to lower your risk of Achilles tendonitis.
- Increase your activity level slowly. If you’re training for a race or big competition, try to increase the intensity or duration of your workouts by no more than 10% per week.
- Be mindful of your footwear. Choose athletic shoes that provide excellent cushioning and support. If you have difficulty finding a comfortable pair, talk to your foot doctor about custom orthotics. Replace sneakers every year and running shoes every six months or 500 miles, whichever comes first.
- Warm up. Stretch before athletic activity. Try adding a weekly yoga class to your exercise regimen to maintain flexibility.
- Cross train. Vary your activities. If you run one day, lift weights, swim, or bicycle the next.
If you notice signs of Achilles tendonitis, schedule a visit to your podiatrist as soon as possible. With years of specialized training and experience, your foot doctor is the best-qualified professional to treat your issue. He or she will provide a careful examination, then diagnose the source of your discomfort. If it is, in fact, Achilles tendonitis, multiple approaches will be available for treatment, including rest, over the counter and prescription medications, immobilizations, physical therapy, and, in some cases, surgery.
Are you concerned about Achilles tendonitis or anything else related to the health or well-being of your feet, ankles, or lower legs? Call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. at 410-224-4448 or click here today to schedule a convenient appointment with foot doctor Dr. James M. McKee in our comfortable appointment in Annapolis, MD.