If you reach behind your ankle, you can feel a tough band of tissue — that’s your Achilles tendon. It connects your calf muscle to your heel, and you use it when you walk, run, and jump.
Your Achilles tendon is the longest tendon in your body and one of the toughest, too. But that doesn’t mean it’s not vulnerable. When your Achilles tendon starts to throb, it’s crucial to have an expert like Dr. Maurice Aiken on your team.
At Bay Breeze Foot & Ankle Specialists, we specialize in a wide variety of foot and ankle problems, including Achilles tendon disorders. Let’s talk about what can go wrong with your Achilles tendon and how we can help.
Why does my Achilles tendon hurt?
Achilles tendon pain typically stems from overuse or a sudden increase in activity. Placing such stress on your tendon causes tears in the tendon fibers, which in turn results in painful inflammation.
Athletes are among the most at risk for tendon pain, especially because they often play through pain and allow the tears to become more severe — sometimes to the point of rupture. You can also be at risk if you are:
- Middle-aged or older
- Suddenly increasing your activity level
- Beginning a new exercise
Certain conditions, including psoriasis and high blood pressure, also contribute to an increased risk of tendon problems. Those with high or low arches in their feet or naturally tight calf muscles are also more prone to tendon pain than others.
Even the shoes you wear pose a risk to your Achilles tendon. For example, high-heeled shoes and shoes that don’t fit properly leave your foot and ankle vulnerable to injury and repeated stress.
What does it feel like if you injure your Achilles tendon?
Achilles tendon pain presents differently than other foot and ankle pain. You know you have a problem with your Achilles tendon if you experience:
- Mild or dull aching at the back of your leg
- Pain that increases after activity
- Pain that’s worse in the morning
- Trouble bearing weight on the affected leg
We diagnose tendon pain through a series of examinations, including a physical evaluation of your Achilles tendon. Dr. Aiken carefully presses on the back of your ankle to assess your symptoms and their severity.
Then, we create a customized treatment plan that fits your unique needs. Here’s a closer look at what that might entail.
What can I do about Achilles tendon pain?
If your tendon injury is mild, we begin your treatment with simple strategies that you can do at home. Often, your body simply needs rest and other therapies, such as:
- Anti-inflammatory medicine
- Shoe inserts that cushion your heel
We may also recommend some stretching and strengthening exercises to support your tendon as it heals and to prepare you for returning to your normal activities once it does.
To further help your Achilles tendon recover, we often recommend modifying your activities and encourage you to opt for lower-impact sports to prevent future injury.
How we can help
Sometimes, when your tendon pain is severe and/or not responding to conservative treatment, you need more specialized treatments. We offer a wide variety of non-surgical options, including Erchonia® cold laser therapy and Amnio Fluid Flow™ therapy.
Erchonia cold laser therapy uses low-level light energy to address painful swelling and inflammation in your ankle.
Amnio Fluid Flow therapy is a revolutionary regenerative medicine therapy. We inject a solution of amniotic fluid into the damaged areas of your body to stimulate tissue repair.
Ready to tackle your tendon pain? We’re here to help. Request an appointment online or call us at our Dunedin, Florida, office at 727-285-9686.