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Achilles Tendinitis Treatment Geneva, IL

What Is Achilles Tendinitis?

The Achilles tendon is one of the largest, and strongest, tendons in the human body. It connects the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg (the gastrocnemius and the soleus) to the back of the heel bone. When the calf muscles flex, the Achilles tendon pulls on the heel. This supports the natural movement of the foot, allowing it to extend while walking, running or jumping.

If the Achilles tendon is over-stressed, it can often become irritated and inflamed, resulting in tendinitis. Over time, this can lead to the development of scar tissue which can inhibit the natural flexibility of the Achilles tendon. If the inflammation remains unchecked, and the Achilles tendon continues to be stressed, it can lead to a tear or rupture of the tendon.

Causes of Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is rarely the result of a specific injury. It is more commonly caused by excessive stress and strain being placed upon the tendon itself. This often happens when the body is pushed beyond its natural performance limits. Runners and other athletes are particularly prone to developing tendinitis, though the condition can affect anyone who places undue strain or unexpected stress on their Achilles tendon.

Factors that can contribute to the development of Achilles tendinitis include:

  • Changes in exercise routines: for example, an increase in a runner’s daily mileage without giving the body time to adjust to the new distance can over-stress the Achilles tendon, leading to tendinitis
  • Tight calf muscles: tight or fatigued calf muscles transfer too much of the burden of running and training to the Achilles tendon, making it more susceptible to injury. This is a common cause of tendinitis in athletes and joggers who fail to warm up properly prior to an exercise routine
  • Hill running: running on uneven terrain places greater stress on the Achilles tendon, often leading to tendinitis
  • Improper footwear: inflexible running shoes can force the Achilles to twist in an unnatural manner, leading to excess stress and strain on the tendon
  • Postural problems: people with flat feet or over-arched feet are more prone to developing tendinitis. Runners whose feet rotate too far inward on impact are also more susceptible to Achilles tendinitis

Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis

The most common symptoms associated with Achilles tendinitis include:

  • Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon in the morning
  • Pain along tendon or back of heel that worsens with activity
  • Severe pain the day after exercising
  • Thickening of tendon
  • Bone spur at lower part of tendon at back of heel
  • Persistent swelling that worsens throughout the day with activity
  • Decreased ability to flex foot

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