The Achilles tendon, the largest tendon in the human body, is a band of tissue that connects the calf muscles at the back of your lower leg to your heel bone…and it’s a tendon that is constantly in use. Whether walking, running, jumping, or climbing stairs, every step you take puts stress on the Achilles tendon. Just about every move you make with your foot uses the Achilles tendon.
So, it’s no wonder that Achilles tendonitis is such a common injury, especially among runners and athletes, no matter how casual or severe. Achilles tendonitis is generally not considered a significant injury, but it could become one if left untreated.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis
The injury usually starts as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after running or other strenuous activity. That pain can turn severe if the activity is prolonged. Tenderness and stiffness are also common, but that tends to fade away for some people.
Some studies show that Achilles tendonitis occurs more frequently in men and older people, as the tendon begins to weaken with age. This is one of the reasons why middle-aged people who take part in sports–a combination of risk factors–are often at risk of developing Achilles tendonitis.
Treating Achilles Tendonitis
Mild cases of Achilles tendonitis can be treated at home with rest, ice, over-the-counter pain medication, and stretches. It’s best to see a doctor before trying any exercise or stretching on your own, as further stress on an already-injured Achilles tendon can lead to a tear (or rupture), which can cause excruciating pain and result in surgery.
Calf stretches and exercise to strengthen the calf muscles can help prevent further injury to the Achilles tendon, as can warming up and stretching before activity. Also, be sure to wear comfortable and supportive shoes, which can relieve some of the pressure on the heel and tendon.
Physical therapy is also an excellent way to treat Achilles tendonitis.
Achilles Tendonitis Treatment at Physical Therapy NOW in Irving, Texas
If you’re suffering from Achilles tendonitis, come see us at Physical Therapy NOW in Irving. After an initial consultation where a friendly, skilled, experienced physical therapist will discuss your injury and perform an evaluation, you’ll collaborate to configure a PT treatment plan that is tailored to your specific injury. Though treatment will vary from patient to patient, PT for Achilles tendonitis often involves:
- Stretching and flexibility work: These are key to Achilles PT, as they help your tendon recover without causing long-term pain.
- Strengthening: As mentioned earlier, strengthening your calf muscles will not only help you regain the strength that you lost during recovery, but this step will help protect you from another Achilles injury.
- A deep massage can aid in increasing flexibility and blood circulation in your lower leg.
Don’t try to rehab an Achilles injury on your own–let the professionals at Physical Therapy NOW in our Irving location help you work your way through the pain with proven treatments. We can get you back on your feet again. Call us today at (214) 225-0291 to set up your first appointment, and let’s get you on the road to recovery!
Written by Kahini Shah