Achilles tendonitis affects athletes as well as individuals who are not athletes. In fact, a rupture of this tendon occurs in roughly 7 out of every 100,000 people in the general population. Statistics do show roughly 80 percent of Achilles tendon ruptures occur during a recreational or competitive sport, and 10 percent of those patients have preexisting Achilles tendon problems. If you or someone you care about is involved in sports, it is a very good idea to learn more about Achilles tendonitis.
What is the Achilles Tendon?
It is a band of tissue that connects the heel to the back of the calf. It helps the foot bend in order to allow walking, running, and standing on your toes.
What Are The Symptoms?
Achilles tendonitis usually begins as a mild soreness in the back of the leg, right above the heel. It will be tender, swollen, and stiff. The stiffness will make it difficult to stretch or point your toes to the ground. If a sudden snap happened when the pain came, it is likely that you ruptured the tendon altogether.
It is most common in runners or people who are normally involved in a sedentary lifestyle, but suddenly pick up activities like running or basketball. It can also be caused by excessive wearing of high heels.
How Can You Lower the Risk?
Some things cannot be helped when it comes to risk factors. For example, Achilles tendonitis is more likely to happen in men. In fact, statistics show 80 percent of cases where this tendon ruptures, the patient is male. Aging also puts you at a greater risk as the tendon grows weak over time.
If you are flat footed, you are at a high risk for Achilles tendonitis. It is important that you wear proper shoes with as much arch support as you can find. If need be, put in an extra support sole in order to lift the arch and not strain the Achilles tendon.
Certain types of antibiotics have been known to trigger Achilles tendonitis. If you must see a podiatrist for the condition, explain what medications you are taking. You may need to ask your doctor to prescribe something that will not trigger it.
If you are overweight, talk to a doctor about your options for maintaining a healthy diet and losing weight. You should also discuss an alternative exercise plan with your podiatrist. You need recommendations on how you can exercise to lose the weight without putting so much stress on the tendon.
As long as it is not severe, many injuries heal on their own. Stay off the injured leg as much as you can. If you must walk, do so with the help of crutches. Wear an elastic band around the leg to keep it from swelling. Ice and elevate the leg when you are laying down or watching TV. Talk to your doctor before taking any medication (including pain killers) as you do not want to cause any adverse side effects.