Preventing Achilles Tendonitis

One of the most common causes of heel pain that we see at Pasco-Hernando Foot & Ankle is Achilles tendonitis. Your Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body and also one of the most used. It stretches down the back of your lower leg, connecting your calf muscle to your heel bone. This tendon helps lift your heel off the ground and is therefore essential for walking, running and jumping.

Why is My Heel Hurting?

Although dysfunctional foot mechanics can create tendon problems, the most frequent cause of Achilles issues is overuse. Any repetitive activity that puts stress on the Achilles tendon can result in the tendon becoming inflamed. Jumping up to score a basket, running hills or sprints, and using the stair climber are all examples of activities that put a strain on the tendon. Athletes who are under-conditioned or who begin a training regimen after having been inactive for a long period of time are likely candidates for Achilles tendonitis. It can also afflict experienced athletes as well, however, if they suddenly increase the intensity of their workout.

Lowering Your Risk

The key to preventing Achilles tendonitis is a sound training program. A healthy diet and workout regimen will enable the body to build muscle and strength gradually without causing injury to the Achilles tendon. Be sure to observe the following suggestions:

  • Stretch it out—doing appropriate calf and other stretches before you begin exercising will decrease the likelihood of tendonitis. Stretching gets your blood flowing and prepares the body for strenuous activity.

  • Wear the proper shoes—be sure that you are using a pair of shoes specifically designed for the sport you are doing. Shoes need to have good arch and ankle support. Fit is very important. It’s best to go to a sports shoe store and let a professional help you find the best shoes for your foot. Replace shoes as needed.

  • Consider custom orthotics—talk to our podiatrist, Lawrence J. Kales, about an orthoticto use inside your shoes. The foot doctor will do a complete examination of your feet and ankles to determine the cause and extent of your tendon problems. He will then decide whether an orthotic device would be helpful.

Don’t ignore Achilles pain. Left untreated, an inflamed tendon could actually rupture, causing a debilitating injury. Contact our Hudson (727-868-2128) or Spring Hill (352-683-5799) office for an appointment at Pasco-Hernando Foot & Ankle today.