Pain in the Achilles tendon is a condition which occurs when the large tendon that runs down the back of your lower leg becomes irritated and inflamed. The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and is used when you walk, run, climb stairs, jump, and stand on your tip toes. Although the Achilles tendon can withstand great stress from running and jumping, it is also prone to tendinitis, a condition associated with overuse and degeneration.
Tendonitis often results from an accumulation of stress which often happens when we push our bodies too much, too soon. However, other factors can make your Achilles tendon more likely to develop tendinitis, including:
Common symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include:
Furthermore, hearing a pop sound around your ankle during sudden movement or activity could signify possible tendon rupture and as such medical attention should be sought as soon as possible.
Managing Achilles pain
Important principles in managing Achilles pain include:
The first step in reducing pain is to decrease or even stop the activities that make the pain worse, especially if you regularly do high-impact exercises (such as running), switching to low impact exercises will also be helpful.
Placing ice on the most painful area of the Achilles tendon is helpful and can be done as needed throughout the day. This can be done for up to 20 minutes and should be stopped earlier if the skin becomes numb.
Manual therapy techniques like stretching and soft tissue mobilizations along with exercises improve ankle motor control. Education regarding types of activities to be carried out as well as the proper form in carrying out this activity will be helpful as well as the right type of footwear and possible orthotic use.