Achilles Tendonitis Injury : Athletic Injuries

Athletics injuries can arise from different types of sporting activities, including running for recreation or marathons. Tendons in the heel of the foot are vulnerable to macro or micro traumas, which are either immediate injuries or injuries that occur gradually from overexertion of the tendons.

The Achilles tendon attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone or calcaneus, behind the ankle, and serves as an extension to the calf muscles in movement of the feet and legs. When the achilles tendon becomes inflamed, the injury is called Achilles Tendonitis. In more severe cases, the achilles tendon ruptures with tendonitis that is highly painful and prevents use of the affected foot for walking.

Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis

Athletes may feel gradual pain and stiff sensations in the ankle while exercising, which worsens with increased athletic activity. Or the pain may occur more swiftly with ankle movement and feel tender to the touch. If severe pain is felt with protrusion and increased swelling, and the athlete is unable to flex the foot, then a rupture to the tendon may have occurred.

Causes of Achilles Tendonitis

When starting a new athletics programme or increasing intensity of the athletics you partake in, you can overexert the tendon in the ankle causing it to become inflamed. Runners are particularly prone to achilles tendonitis. Unhealthy running techniques, wearing unsupported sports shoes and uneven distribution of body weight for running gait, can cause the body to biologically respond with inflammation of the injured tendon. Certain antibiotics and medications have also been known to inflame tendons. Other causes may include accidents such as falling over obstacles or ill-health. Chronic or recurring achilles tendonitis is often a cause of rupture to the achilles tendon.

Medical Treatment of Achilles Tendonitis

Tendonitis can be self-treated by raising and resting the foot, by applying ice to the achilles tendon and by compressing and supporting the heel and sole of the foot. Having the injured achilles tendon assessed by a local doctor is advised in case the tendonitis is more severe than initially thought or if subsequent activities may actually worsen the tendonitis over time. Physicians and physiotherapists can advise you on the extent of achilles tendonitis and how best to treat the injury.

In some cases rest, painkillers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and exercise regimens through physiotherapy to promote healing may be recommended. If the extent of damage requires further investigation, your doctor may refer you for an MRI or Ultrasound scan of your foot. When achilles tendonitis is resistant (not healing and re-occurring) or if the tendon ruptures, casting or corrective surgery may be required.

Preventing Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis can be prevented by getting training on how best to exercise and move during your athletic activity to reduce gait imbalance that can place pressure on the tendon. Wearing orthotic devices to support the heel and sole of the foot can be an alternative or be used in conjunction with well-constructed athletic sports shoes.

Making sure you warm up the ankle and don’t over-pronate foot movements during activity can reduce risk of tendon trauma. Seeking professional advice on athletics exercise programmes, nutrition and fluids for athletes, athletic shoes and orthotic equipment will help you learn about your body and protection of the achilles tendon from developing tendonitis. Not delaying medical treatment for achilles tendonitis may prevent future rupture of the tendon.

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved