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    What Is Achilles Tendinitis And How To Treat It?

    What Is Achilles Tendinitis And How To Treat It?

    The Achilles tendon is a group of tissues that connect the calf muscles to the heel bone. When you sustain an injury or overuse these tissues, you may develop Achilles tendinitis. The issue is common in runners that have increased the duration or the intensity of their workouts suddenly. It may also happen in middle-aged people (mostly men) who play tennis or basketball. Generally, the issue is not something to worry about and the treatments are quite simple. The treatments often include rest, ice, compression and elevation, or the RICE technique. However, in severe cases, there can be tears to the tendon, in which case, surgical intervention is required.

    Symptoms

    If you suspect that you have Achilles tendinitis, here are a few symptoms to keep in mind. The pain generally starts as a dull ache above the heel or at the back of the leg. With continued running, climbing stairs or other exercises, the pain may increase in intensity. People also experience stiffness or tenderness in the area during the morning, which generally reduces with some activity.

    Causes

    Achilles tendinitis is generally attributed to repeated and intense strain caused to the Achilles tendon. The tendon is generally used while running, walking, jumping or pushing up against the toes. The causes include the gradual weakening of the Achilles tendon with age, which makes it prone to injury. It may also be caused by a sudden increase in physical activity.

    Risk factors for getting Achilles Tendinitis

    A few factors can increase the risk of getting Achilles tendinitis. These include:

    • Sex: The disorder is most common in men
    • Age: As you get older, the risk of getting Achilles tendinitis increases
    • Physical Issues: Flat feet, obesity and tightness in calf muscles can increase the risk of Achilles tendinitis
    • Sports choices: The choice of sport, like running in hilly terrains can increase risks of injury to the Achilles tendon. Using poor or worn out shoes can also increase your risks.
    • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions like a high blood pressure or psoriasis can increase the risk of Achilles tendinitis.
    • Medications: Some types of antibiotics like fluoroquinolones are associated with an increased risk factor for Achilles tendinitis.

    Treatment

    Achilles tendinitis can often be treated with self-care methods, however, for severe symptoms, you may need other treatments. Some of the best treatments include:

    • Medications

    Over-the-counter medicines for relieving pain can help with the swelling and pain. Doctors may prescribe stronger medicines for severe cases.

    • Physical therapy

    Physiotherapy may be required. Therapists generally prescribe strengthening and stretching exercises to heal and strengthen the Achilles tendon and surrounding parts.

    • Using orthotic devices

    Using a shoe insert can help to elevate the heel. This relieves the stress on your tendon and cushions the strain on the Achilles tendon.

    • Surgery

    If other treatments don’t prove effective or you have a tear on the tendon, surgery can help.

    • Lifestyle changes and home remedies

    Four strategies can help you get the strain under control. With adequate rest, icing the area, compression wraps and elevating the foot, you can reduce the symptoms.