If anyone has ever had pain inside of their Achilles, they know how much it cringes. I used to have shooting pains through my Achilles tendon whenever I was suffering from other injuries. One thing that is very common among runner is Achilles tendonitis.
So, what exactly is Achilles tendonitis?
Tendonitis develops when there is inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles attaches your calf muscle to the heel bone in your foot. This tendon in particular is very important to your everyday life. It helps you walk, run, jump, and stand. It helps the balls of your feet to function properly. Therefore, when you are suffering from Achilles tendonitis, it can become difficult to escape pain and you’ll soon be seeking out treatment.
Tendonitis tends to develop when there has been excess running and jumping. Achilles tendinitis causes excruciating pain. It is very common for runners to get this injury after increasing their miles or intensity in their workouts.
If it goes untreated, then tendon can eventually tear causing even worse injury. Therefore, it is important to identify the symptoms of this injury.
There are several symptoms that plague runners and athletes with Achilles tendonitis. One of the biggest ones is pain and swelling in the back side of your heel. This will tend to form whenever you walk or run.
This can feel like discomfort inside of the back of your foot. It is a good idea to check out your foot if you are having a lot of pain, while walking, running, or doing normal activities.
Tight calf muscles are another big sign of Achilles tendonitis. I have dealt with extreme tightness in my right calf throughout my whole life. When I was a child, I used to burst into tears after football practice every day because of how tight they were.
Currently, I just deal with extreme discomfort in my calf that is an irritation to everyday chores. It is extremely important to check for Achilles tendonitis if you are having tightness inside of your calf muscles. Otherwise, you might regret it later.
Another symptom is a limited range of motion when you are flexing your foot. Another sign is extreme warmness in your heel whenever it is touched. You may experience all or a few of these symptoms.
According to the National Institute of Health, a bursa is “a small, fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between a bone and other moving parts: muscles, tendons, or skin” (NIH, 2017). Bursitis happens when one of the sacs become inflamed. This is why it is difficult to determine between Achilles bursitis and Achilles tendonitis.
Tendons are a flexible tissue that connects bones and muscles together. Like bursitis, tendonitis is the inflammation of the actual tendon. Bursitis is caused by overuse or trauma. Normally, tendonitis is caused by repeated motion or injury in the same area.
Normally, the patient will tell the doctor about the pain they are having. “The location and onset of pain, whether it varies in severity throughout the day, and the factors that relieve or aggravate the pain are all important diagnostic clues” (NIH, 2017).
Normally, the doctor will poke around to see the direct tendon that is being affected. They will be able to find the inflamed areas and figure out if it is bursitis or tendonitis. It is important to seek medical attention if you are suffering from an Achilles injury since it can turn into a partial or complete tear. So, what exactly causes Achilles tendonitis?
There are several things that can cause Achilles tendonitis. As you get older, it is easier for the injury to occur. Excessive exercise and a lot of walking can cause tendonitis. The few times I have started to develop it, I would walk 15,000 steps at school, 3 miles to work, and I would run around 5 miles a day.
It is best to keep your workouts reasonable and gradually push yourself. Rheumatoid arthritis and infections can also cause Achilles tendonitis. Anything that strains the Achilles that is repeated over and over can also cause the injury. That is why it is so common among runners.
Exercising without a proper warm up can cause a lot of problems. My coach wouldn’t have us do a warm up most days. This led to several shin splints and Achilles issues. I recall having to sit out for over a week of offseason training due to an Achilles issues that develop, while we were practicing inside of the school.
Straining your calf muscles can also cause inflammation of the tendon. Be careful when you feel tightness in your calves, because it could be a sign of tendonitis. Make sure you are properly stretching before workouts.
Playing sports that require sharp turns can also cause tendonitis. Football and tennis are two key examples. Therefore, if you run and play these sports, make sure you are extra careful.
Wearing old shoes or ones that do not fit well can also cause issues. I grew up in a poor family. My mindset is always, “How can I spend the least amount of money on shoes.” This led to me wearing terrible shoes that were worn out.
It is important to use the proper gear if you are going to run. Go to a foot specialist and find the best fitted shoe for you with solid insoles. Take all measures necessary to get better footwear.
Finally, wearing high heels for long periods of time on a daily basis can cause Achilles tendonitis. If you wear high heels regularly for work or for fun, make sure you are taking the proper preventative measures to help you overcome any injuries.
Overall, Achilles tendonitis forms when there is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Do not confuse this with Achilles bursitis, which is inflammation of the bursae become inflamed. Tendonitis can lead to tears and should be taken care of right away. See a medical professional if you are experiencing problems, and take measures to lower the risk of future Achilles injuries.
If you believe that you have an Achilles injury, it is important to go see a doctor or trainer. They will be able to check to make sure you don’t have a tear. Follow their suggestions and you will be good to go.