Achilles tendonosis is a condition that affects the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel. The Achilles tendon is subjected to forces of up to 12 times body weight during certain activities, and excessive force can result in Achilles tendonosis. Activities such as skiing, hiking, jumping, walking, or a sudden increase in running miles can result in pain and inflammation of the Achilles tendon. 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
Symptoms of Achilles tendonosis include pain ranging from a dull ache to sharp, stabbing pains, difficulty walking or climbing stairs, and an area that is tender to the touch. The Achilles may also have a bump or swollen area. Sometimes "warming up" or moving for several minutes will lessen the pain in the Achilles, but the pain will return after resting. As the injury progresses the pain will feel more intense and occur more frequently, and swelling and soreness may increase.
Causes of Achilles Tendonitis
Activities that typically cause Achilles tendonitis include jumping, the quick steps used in tennis or basketball, and running. Running puts great stress on the tendon, and injuries can result when there is a sudden increase in running or training miles. Imagine the Achilles tendon as a rope connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. While each step will pull on the rope, too much stress will cause the rope to fray. The "frayed" rope is Achilles tendonitis. Every step we take places some stress on the tendon, and can slow or aggravate the healing. When the Achilles is sore or inflamed, running hills and plyometrics should be avoided.
Treatment for Achilles Tendonosis
Stretching the calves and hamstrings can reduce stress on the Achilles tendon, along with modification to activities and training schedules. When excessive foot pronation is a contributing factor to Achilles tendonosis, orthotics and exercises to increase muscle strength in the foot arch can be helpful.
Initial treatment of Achilles tendonosis is ice and rest to decrease the swelling and encourage healing. If the tendon fails to respond to this initial treatment, additional treatments may include electric therapy, ultrasound and proprioceptive therapy.
Our office utilizes Graston Technique to speed healing of the Achilles tendon. Graston Technique has been found to increase healing through improving flexibility, range of motion, and speed fibroblast cell activity (cells that heal the tendon). Positive and quick results are reported from those utilizing the Graston Technique, especially when compared to other treatment options.
Prevention of Achilles Injuries
To prevent Achilles tendonitis, avoid suddenly increasing activity levels and running distance. Purchase quality foot wear, perform regular stretching and cross-training. People who have had a history of Achilles problems need to be conservative with their exercise and training programs.
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.
Remember that any pain is a warning sign that something is wrong. Ignoring the problem when it is small often leads 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.
Achilles tendonitis can be successfully treated by providers who are experienced with Achilles injuries and who utilize therapies such as the Graston Technique for faster results.