As the name implies, Achilles Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.
Symptoms include pain along the Achilles tendon during/after activity, swelling, reduced range of motion and tenderness to touch. It is not uncommon to experience pain when trying to rise up on the toes or pushing off the ball of your foot while walking. Early detection and treatment is important. Left untreated Achilles Tendonitis can quickly progress to tendinosis and increase risk of rupture.
While there are a number of different factors that contribute to Achilles Tendonitis, one of the most common is excessive pronation. Pronation is a normal movement of the foot that allows the arch to flatten to a degree. If the foot is weak or tired and/or the footwear is not supportive, the arch can flatten more than normal, resulting in excessive pronation. Excessive flattening of the foot stretches the plantar fascia contributing to inflammation at the attachment to the heel. As the Achilles tendon attaches on the back of the heel there is an increased pressure placed on the tendon, resulting in its eventual inflammation. You can easily determine the degree to which your foot pronates by visiting any Dave’s location for a free gait analysis from one of our experienced team members.
Other common contributing causes include tight calf muscles ( the gastroc and/or soleus) and tight Achilles tendon, age/decreasing flexibility, sudden increase in training intensity, improper footwear, change in the heel/toe offset (manufacturer, model, training shoes vs. racing flats, heels vs. flats etc.)
Repetitive, excessive pronation is a common or leading contributor to many lower extremity, overuse injuries.
So what to do about it?
Supporting the foot with proper shoes and/or insoles, can prevent or help to eliminate the vast majority of stresses on the lower extremities including Achilles Tendonitis. We recommend visiting one of our convenient locations for a professional shoe fitting and free gait analysis.
In addition to proper footwear, supporting the foot with an over the counter medical grade orthotic or a small heel lift may offer relief. Gentle stretching of the calf (both gastroc and soleus) muscles and Achilles tendon can help eliminate or prevent many problems with the Achilles tendon. Once the inflammation is gone strengthening of the calf muscles can help prevent further injury. Avoid running uphill until symptoms completely disappear. Make sure that the heel collar of your shoe does not rub on or irritate the tendon. Physical Therapy including ultrasound, iontophoresis, and exercise play a very important role in recovery.
For additional information about Achilles tendonitis, stop by any one of our four convenient locations. Our experienced team of fit specialists is always on hand with footwear solutions and common sense advice.
As with any injury see your doctor if your symptoms worsen or do not improve. This material is presented for information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice or treatment from a medical professional. When in doubt seek medical attention immediately.
We’ve learned a thing or two about injuries in the last forty years but that doesn’t make us doctors. This material is offered for informational use only and should not be taken as medical advice. Only you can decide when it’s time to talk to a doctor. Generally speaking any time an injury persists or worsens it’s time to seek help from a medical professional. Until then we’re happy to share our experience with you to use as you see fit.