Achilles tendonitis is a debilitating, painful inflammation of the Achilles Tendon – a cordlike prominence at the back of the heel rising up toward the calf. Symptoms include an extremely piercing pain, a shooting or burning pain, at the back area of the heel. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle of the leg to the heel bone. The degree of injury ranges from an irritated tendon to a tear or even a complete rupture of the tendon.
Common mitigating factors include:
- Improper training program for athletes
- Wearing footwear that is ill-fitted or badly worn
- improper warmup (or cool-down) for your activity
- lack of flexibility in the calf muscles
- wearing high heels that can shrink the tendon and become more vulnerable to injury
This injury is problematic among athletes especially runners and professional dancers, as both activites stress the achilles tendon quite heavily.
If you feel a sharp pain, as though you’ve been hit in the back of the ankle, and hear a “pop” sound, your Achilles tendon has likely ruptured. A ruptured (completely torn) Achilles tendon can occur when the Achilles tendon is overstressed to the point of tearing. It will be very difficult for you to walk or move your ankle if this is the case.
The exact cause of a rupture is difficult to say. However, it seems to occur more frequently when the tendon and the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calf are weak. Weaker muscles are shorter and tighter than usually and this causes more stress on the Achilles tendon. A forceful stretch of the tendon while the calf muscles are contracting and the leg is moving forward can cause a rupture to occur.
Achilles tendonitis should never go untreated because it can lead to the weakening of the tendon and possibly a complete rupture. An injured, weakened tendon held together by scar tissue is very susceptible to a rupture because it is not strong enough to withstand the demands placed on it during exercise or everyday activities.
Achilles Tendon Treatments
It is important to treat Achilles tendon injuries as soon as possible, as any activity or strain you put on your tendon can re-injure it further. Though the pain, discomfort, and inconvenience of an Achilles condition can be overwhelming, it is possible to overcome it.
The trick with any tendon injury is getting it to heal quickly so there is less chance of re-injury and minimal scar tissue formation, – something Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) is great at! Even with optimum healing, there is always less elasticity in a previously injured tendon. This will cause the tendon to hurt, during exercise and everyday activities. However, if you heal your injury efficiently and quickly, your chance of re-injury later on is much lower than average.
Allowing your Achilles tendon to rest is always recommended following injury. Avoid all activities that may have caused the injury or irritation andbegin cold compression treatments as soon as possible. The Achilles tendon is a difficult tendon to rest completely as it is an essential tendon for walking and daily activities. Fortunately, there are healing tools that can help treat your tendon and speed up the healing process so you can get back to a life without pain and risk of further injury. BFST® will drastically improve blood flow to heal your tendon faster and more completely than any other method available.
Although steroid injections may provide temporary relief from the pain of Achilles tendinitis, they should generally be avoided as they weaken the tendon and may lead to a rupture. If you do opt for an injection, doctors usually recommend that you do not participate in strenuous activities for several weeks to reduce the risk of a rupture.