The Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to your heel, can be subjected to forces of up to 12 times body weight during certain activities. Achilles tendonosis can result from a sudden increase in running miles, jumping, hiking or sometimes even walking. When the Achilles tendon is subjected to a massive amount of force over a short period of time or a smaller amount of force repeatedly, Achilles tendonosis can result. Injuries range from mild irritation to complete rupture. When the tendon is merely irritated the pain and inflammation can be easily treated with rest, ice, and over-the-counter medications. For Achilles injuries that last longer than several weeks, active treatment may be necessary.
Signs and Symptoms of Achilles Tendonosis
The most common sign of Achilles tendonosis is pain and soreness in the Achilles tendon. It can range from a dull ache to sharp stabbing pains. Those suffering from Achilles tendonosis may have difficulty walking or climbing stairs. As the condition worsens the pain will feel more intense and will occur more frequently. Often times the Achilles will feel better after "warming up" or moving for several minutes, but the pain will then return after resting. An injured Achilles will usually have an area that is tender to the touch and may have a bump or swollen area which can become more swollen and sore as the injury progresses.
Causes of Achilles Tendonitis
Think of the Achilles tendon as a rope that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Every step taken causes the muscles to contract, pulling on the rope. Achilles tendonosis occurs when too much stress causes the rope to fray. The objective is to heal the frayed fibers. However, every step we take places stress on the frayed fibers which can slow healing or aggravate the condition.
Achilles tendonitis is a common injury for runners who quickly increase their running or training miles. It can also be caused by jumping or taking quick steps in sports such as tennis or basketball. Running hills and plyometrics can also stress the Achilles, and should be avoided if the tendon is inflamed and/or sore.
Treatment for Achilles Tendonosis
Initial treatment is ice and rest, which will decrease swelling and encourage healing. Further treatment could require electric therapy, ultrasound or proprioceptive therapy. Additionally, activities and training schedules may need to be modified to reduce stress on the tendon and enable healing. Stretching the calves and hamstrings may also help reduce tension on the Achilles tendon.
When excessive foot pronation contributes to Achilles tendonosis, exercises to strengthen the muscles in the foot arch can be helpful, as well as utilizing orthotics to provide additional arch support.
At Alpha Chiropractic, we utilize Graston Technique to speed healing of the Achilles tendon. This technique has been found to increase healing through improving flexibility, range of motion, and speed fibroblast cell activity (cells that heal the tendon). People report very positive and quick results from utilizing the Graston Technique, especially when compared to other treatment options.
Prevention of Achilles Injuries
Achilles tendonitis can be prevented by utilizing quality footwear, stretching, cross training and slowing increasing activity levels. Those with a history of stress on the Achilles should be conservative with training and exercise. Pain is a warning sign and should not be ignored, as this can lead to a more extensive injury. Prevent small Achilles injuries from becoming large injuries that require more time and treatment to correct by calling Alpha Chiropractic today at (480) 812-1800.
In conclusion, Achilles tendonitis can be successfully treated with hands on treatment. Seek providers who are experienced with Achilles injuries and who utilize therapies such as the Graston Technique for faster results.