Heel Pain in Woman
What Is The Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles Tendon is a large strong tendon that attaches the calf muscles into the back of the heel of the foot. You use this tendon to jump, walk, run, and stand on the balls of your feet. Although it is a strong tendon, because of it’s position and demand on the body, it is a common tendon to injure.
How Is The Achilles Tendon Injured?
The Achilles tendon is injured when it is overused or abnormal force is applied to it over a period of time. It can happen in both athletes, and yet also occur in people who are not active at all. Achilles tendonitis usually starts with only mild discomfort but the longer it is left, the worse it becomes. It can often make walking painful and difficult.
Achilles tendonitis is also associated with foot structure, most commonly over pronated feet (flat feet) or over supinated (high arched feet). This is due to the abnormal force and pull poor foot structure puts on the Achilles tendon during the gait cycle (walking pattern). It is a common pain seen in woman due to poor choice in everyday footwear, such as high heels, ballet flats and other non-supportive footwear. Working on hard surfaces, standing for long periods of time, and obesity are also contributing factors to Achilles tendonitis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Achilles Tendonitis?
The main symptom of Achilles tendonitis is pain and swelling in the back side of your heel when you walk or run. The pain can be a dull ache, sharp stabbing pain, or burning pain, during and/or after exercises. Other symptoms include tight calf muscles and limited range of motion in your ankle joint. Pain may be felt when you squeeze the back of your heel (where the Achilles tendon inserts) or down the tendon itself (the lower third of your leg), yet sometimes even cause pain or tightness in the calf muscle or the plantar fascia (the arch area of your foot). Some people can develop nodules (lumps) on the back of the Achilles from the repetitive tears/stress to the tendon. The longer Achilles tendonitis is left, the worse it becomes and the longer it takes to heel. Seeing a podiatrist as soon as the symptoms begin ensures the best recovery and prevention for the future.
How Do You Treat Achilles Tendonitis?
There a many different ways to treat Achilles tendonitis, therefore it is always best to get a proper assessment by a podiatrist who specialises in heel pain and tendon injuries. At Barefoot Podiatry, we provide a detailed physical examination (Biomechanical Assessment), where we test the muscles, joints and tendons from the hip down. This is make sure we not only treat the Achilles pain but we fix the cause of where it came from. One some occasions, we make require some X-ray or Ultrasound imaging.
Your treatment may include one or more of the listed below depending on the severity of the Achilles injury and other contributing factors of your injury.
- Reducing or modifying your physical activity
- Stretching and/or strengthening of the Achilles tendon and/or Calf muscles
- Icing the area after exercise or when in pain
- Elevating your foot to decrease any swelling
- Taking anti-inflammatory medication for a limited time
- Arch support / orthotic therapy
- Trigger point therapy
- Dry needling
- Foot Mobilisation and/or Manipulation
****Prevention is always the key with any type of injury. So, if something doesn’t look right or feel right, chances are, it probably isn’t right. Our advice is to come in for an assessment sooner rather than later, that way we can keep your feet happy and healthy. And you can keep doing the things you love. ****
To make an appointment to get an ankle prevention assessment, please phone us (03) 9372-7452 or use our online booking enquiry form today.
Article by Dr Kim Thompson BHSc Pod NZ MAPodA AAPSM