The Achilles tendonalso known as the heel cordis the longest tendon in the body. It travels down the back of the leg and attaches to the heel bone. It functions to raise the heel off the ground. A common disorder that can affect this tendon is known as Achilles tendonitis. Achilles tendonitis is simply inflammation of the Achilles tendon. This can occur from overuse or from a lack of proper stretching prior to exercising. Athletes are at high risk for acquiring tendonitis. Alsomiddle-aged recreational athletes are susceptible to it due to being less conditioned and the soft tissues and tendons being less flexible than younger athletes. In additionpeople with flat feet have a tendency to develop Achilles tendonitis. Proper shoe gear is important for this group to prevent further aggravation of the Achilles tendon. If not treated properlyAchilles tendonitis can progress to degeneration of the tendon and develop microscopic tears.
Some symptoms associated with Achilles tendonitis are pain and tenderness in the back of the heel. The most significant pain usually occurs after long periods of inactivitytherefore most patients experience pain when first getting up in the morning and after sitting for long periods of time.
There are a few recommended treatment options that are important for calming down acute inflammation of the tendon. These include immobilization with a cast or removable walking boot known as a cam walker. Icing the area helps reduce the swelling due to inflammation. A heel lift placed in the shoe to raise the heel can assist in reducing the strain on the tendon. NSAIDS such as ibuprofen can help in reducing pain and inflammation in the early stages. Alsostretching exercises and physical therapy can play a big part in recovery of this condition. If non-surgical approaches fail to restore the tendon to its normal conditionsurgery may be necessary. The foot and ankle surgeon will select the best procedure to repair the tendon. So if you are experiencing pain in the back of your heelyou might want to be evaluated by a podiatrist.