Reach down behind your foot and gently rub the space just above your heel. Feel that thick band of connective tissue? That’s your Achilles tendon.
Named after the Greek mythology character who suffered a fatal wound to his heel, this tendon is known for its vulnerabilities. Overuse, foot mechanics, and even your age can cause Achilles tendonitis — a painful condition triggered by inflammation.
Most often, Achilles tendonitis won’t heal without adequate rest and prompt treatment, so Dr. Kelly Geoghan and our team want you to be able to recognize the warning signs quickly.
Pain is usually the first warning sign of Achilles tendonitis. It typically begins as a mild ache, but the pain can worsen after prolonged activity. If you notice sharp pains and/or have difficulty bearing weight, it may indicate that you’ve actually torn your Achilles tendon.
#2 Symptoms in your ankle and calf
Achilles tendonitis isn’t necessarily a problem unique to your heel. It’s not uncommon to feel sudden pain in your ankle and calf as well.
Speaking of radiating symptoms, the swelling in your heel can also find its way into the back of your leg.
Because inflammation is the main issue behind Achilles tendonitis, you may experience significant stiffness in the affected foot and ankle.
#5 Interference with your daily routine
Before Achilles tendonitis, you didn’t think twice about climbing the stairs or walking from one end of the room to the other. But thanks to the pain and inflammation that accompany Achilles tendonitis, even the simplest movements can become difficult.
Your treatment options
Fortunately, there are some cases of Achilles tendonitis that resolve on their own with enough time and rest. However, that’s not always the case. Depending on the severity of your condition, we may recommend additional intervention. Some of our cutting-edge heel pain treatments include:
- Pain-relieving medication
- Compression wrapping
- Daily stretching and strengthening exercises
- Custom orthotic inserts
- Physical therapy
- Shockwave therapy
- MLS laser therapy
With the proper treatment, Achilles tendonitis typically subsides within a few days, with results continuing to improve over the following weeks.
If your symptoms don’t resolve within a few months or if we determine that you’ve torn your tendon, Dr. Geoghan may recommend surgery.
Your next steps
There’s no guaranteed way to avoid Achilles tendonitis, but there are a few things you can do significantly reduce your risk, such as:
- Increasing your activity levels gradually
- Getting adequate rest after activity
- Wearing supportive shoes
- Stretching daily
- Focusing on strengthening your calf muscles
- Alternating between high- and low-impact activities
Still have questions about your symptoms? Don’t wait another day to talk with our expert. Call or click to schedule an appointment at our Lutherville, Maryland, office today.