If the lower half of your calf hurts, you’re not alone. Over 200,000 people visit a doctor every year due to Achilles heel pain. While the Achilles tendon is very strong, it is not very flexible. When it is stretched too far the tendon can become inflamed, which is known as Achilles tendonitis, or it can tear.
Sometimes, this pain associated with these conditions is minimal and can be relieved with at-home treatments. Other times, it is severe and requires a visit to your podiatrist.
When to Seek Treatment for your Achilles Tendon Pain
You should seek treatment for your Achilles tendonitis or tear when the pain significantly impacts your life. This includes situations where the pain lasts for more than a day, or if your lower leg hurts while you are not using it. You should also make an appointment with your podiatrist if you notice your Achilles tendon or heel is swollen.
It’s important to seek pain treatment for your Achilles tendon as soon as possible to prevent the condition from getting worse. Ignoring the problem could make it worse, eventually leading to more aggressive treatments or the need for surgery.
Causes of Achilles Heel Pain
Like many tissues in your body, the Achilles tendon gets worn out as you age. If you maintain the same level of activity on a regular basis — going for a daily walk, for instance — this shouldn’t be a problem. If, however, you put extra strain on your Achilles or abruptly change your exercise routine, you could injure your tendon. Repeatedly pushing past the pain can lead to breakage, which may require surgery.
Men are more likely than women to require treatment for an Achilles tendon condition. Additionally, cold weather, bad shoes and high blood pressure can all increase the likelihood of experiencing Achilles tendon or heel pain.
Achilles Tendonitis Treatment Options
What sort of treatment you need will vary based on the severity of your pain. In some situations, you simply need to rest the affected foot. Ice and elevation may also be used to ameliorate the pain you are experiencing, and the time spent resting will allow your lower leg to heal by itself. Once you feel ready to return to your normal exercise schedule, you should start slowly. Carefully ramping up the level of strain you put on your Achilles heel will help prevent future issues.
A doctor may recommend extra measures to ensure you do not put strain on your already weakened tendon. This can be done with night splints, a cast, or anti-inflammatory medication. In some situations, physical therapy can also help strengthen your tendon.
Chronic Achilles tendinitis has traditionally been a very difficult problem to overcome. Fortunately, regenerative medicine techniques had changed the game when it comes to treating these conditions. Amniotic fluid injections are able to drastically reduce inflammation, reduce scar tissue formation, and accelerate healing of tendon tissue in a fraction of the amount of time previously required.
If, however, you are suffering from severe pain, your Achilles heel may be broken or ruptured. You will need a consultation with a certified specialist to determine which surgical option is right for your individual case.
At Certified Foot and Ankle Specialists, we have vast experience diagnosing the source of your heel pain and administering treatment for your injured Achilles tendon, whether it is conservative or surgical. To schedule a consultation to help you resolve your Achilles tendon pain, contact us at 1-855-550-FEET.