Achilles Tendinitis: The Overuse Injury Every Runner Should Know About

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Achilles Tendinitis: The Overuse Injury Every Runner Should Know About

If you’re a runner or active athlete, don’t let yourself get sidelined by Achilles tendinitis. Read to learn more about how to prevent and treat this common type of overuse injury.

Did you know that Achilles tendinitis is one of the most common types of injuries in runners? It’s right up there with plantar fasciitis and runner’s knee when it comes to threats to staying active on your feet.

You have two Achilles tendons. The achilles tendon connects your calf to your heel bone. You rely on your Achilles tendon every time you run, walk, jump, or stand on your toes.

As a result of overuse, your Achilles tendon can become inflamed or irritated, a condition known as Achilles tendinitis. And, due to the low blood flow in this part of your body, you risk chronic pain without the right course of treatment.

Dr. Nathan Hansen and the team at Hansen Foot & Ankle in Mill Creek, Washington, diagnose and treat Achilles tendinitis. Dr. Hansen helps this type of stubborn injury heal using advanced medicine. With his care, you can prevent complications like a full tendon rupture or lasting chronic pain. Dr. Hansen can also advise you about Achilles tendinitis prevention.

Noticing symptoms of Achilles tendinitis?

If you notice any symptoms of Achilles tendinitis, get in touch with Dr. Hansen for a comprehensive exam. Achilles tendinitis pain is felt at the back of the ankle, characterized as a dull ache. You may feel increased pain in that area when pushing off the affected foot as part of the process of walking or running, or when you first get up in the morning.

You could also see visual signs of this condition, including redness in the affected area of your heel, or a bump on your tendon. And, you could hear sounds of creaking or crackling when you move the affected tendon, as well.

Effectively treating tendinitis

When you seek care right away for Achilles tendinitis, you’re likely to be able to address the issue with relatively simple at-home care techniques. These may include rest, icing therapy, and pain management with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

You may also benefit from physical therapy stretches and exercises. And, moderate Achilles tendinitis related to low foot arches can often be addressed with orthotic inserts.

In the case of severe Achilles tendinitis and tendon rupture, you may need surgical treatment to fully heal.

Tips for preventing tendinitis

Tendinitis can be a wear-and-tear injury, or can occur after a trauma involving the hard contraction of your calf muscles. Runners may experience this in situations like a final sprint to the finish line of a race. Your tendinitis risks only go up as you get older, so senior runners need to be especially aware of Achilles tendinitis.

As an active runner, stay aware of training behaviors that elevate your risk of Achilles tendon injuries. With the right approach to training, you can prevent Achilles tendinitis.

Behaviors to avoid include rapidly increasing your running speed or mileage or adding hill running or stair climbing to your routine without gradual buildup. It’s also essential to spend enough time on calf stretches, and to replace your shoes as they get worn out. 

Don’t do too much too soon after time off from running or exercise, either, if you don’t want to find yourself facing Achilles tendinitis.

Runners need the best Achilles tendon care to stay in good shape. Contact Dr. Hansen and the team at Hansen Foot & Ankle if you notice symptoms of Achilles tendinitis, or if you have concerns about preventing Achilles tendon damage.

Schedule your initial consultation appointment online or over the phone today.