Achilles tendinitis, also known as achilles tendinopathy, occurs when the Achilles tendon, found at the back of the ankle, becomes inflamed. The Achilles tendon attaches your calf muscles to your heel bone, or calcaneus. You use this tendon to jump, walk, run, and stand on the balls of your feet. Achilles tendinitis is more common as you age.
Achilles tendinitis is caused by repetitive or intense strain on the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. This tendon is used when you walk, run, jump or push up on your toes. The structure of the Achilles tendon weakens with age, which can make it more susceptible to injury — particularly in people who may participate in sports only on the weekends or who have suddenly increased the intensity of their running programs.
There are two types of Achilles tendinitis: insertional Achilles tendinitis and noninsertional Achilles tendinitis.
- Insertional Achilles tendinitis affects the lower portion of your tendon where it attaches to your heel bone.
- Noninsertional Achilles tendinitis involves fibers in the middle portion of the tendon and tends to affect younger people who are active.
Simple home remedies can help Achilles tendinitis. However, if that doesn’t work, it’s important to see a doctor. If your tendinitis gets worse, your tendon can tear. In this case, medication or surgery is imperative.
Any repeated activity that strains your Achilles tendon can potentially cause tendinitis. Some causes include:
- exercising without a proper warmup
- straining the calf muscles during repeated exercise or physical activity
- playing sports, such as tennis, that require quick stops and changes of direction
- sudden increase in physical activity without allowing your body to adjust to increased training
- wearing old or poorly fitting shoes
- wearing high heels daily or for prolonged durations
- having bone spurs in the back of your heels
- being older, as the Achilles tendon weakens with age
- discomfort or swelling in the back of your heel
- tight calf muscles
- limited range of motion when flexing your foot
- skin on your heel overly warm to the touch
Several factors may increase your risk of Achilles tendinitis, including:
- Your sex: Achilles tendinitis occurs most commonly in men.
- Age: Achilles tendinitis is more common as you age.
- Physical problems: A naturally flat arch in your foot can put more strain on the Achilles tendon. Obesity and tight calf muscles also can increase tendon strain.
- Training choices: Running in worn-out shoes can increase your risk of Achilles tendinitis. Tendon pain occurs more frequently in cold weather than in warm weather and running on hilly terrain also can predispose you to Achilles injury.
- Medical conditions: People who have psoriasis or high blood pressure are at higher risk of developing Achilles tendinitis.
- Medications: Certain types of antibiotics, called fluoroquinolones, have been associated with higher rates of Achilles tendinitis.
There are some measures you can take to minimize the risk of Achilles tendinitis.
- Increase your activity level gradually.
- Take it easy. Avoid activities that place excessive stress on your tendons, such as hill running.
- Choose your shoes carefully.
- Stretch daily.
- Strengthen your calf muscles.
- Cross-train. Alternate high-impact activities, such as running and jumping, with low-impact activities, such as cycling and swimming.
If you are facing any health-related issues or need any assistance you can always contact Kandakacare. Our professional healthcare workers are fully qualified to assist you at home without risking your health.
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