Problems We Treat

Foot Pain

One of the most common causes of foot pain is Achilles Tendinitis. This is a condition associated with the overuse and degeneration of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body connecting the calf muscles in the posterior lower leg to the heel bone or calcaneus. The tendon helps us to rise to our feet, walk, jump or run. There are two types of Achilles tendinitis depending on which part of the tendon is inflamed. These include insertional Achilles tendinitis and non-insertional Achilles tendonitis. Insertional Achilles tendonitis affects the lower portion of the tendon where it attaches (inserts) to the heel bone. Noninsertional Achilles tendonitis affects the fibers in the middle section of the tendon and is common among young and active people.

Causes of Achilles Tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis arises from repetitive stress to the tendon. The most common causes include:

  • Excessive exercise or walking
  • Exercising without a proper warm-up
  • Poor footwear
  • Soft training surfaces
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Foot biomechanics
  • Bone spurs at the back of the heels
  • Old age as the Achilles tendon weakens with age

The primary symptom of Achilles tendonitis is pain and swelling in the back side of the heel whenever you walk or run. Other symptoms include thickening or enlargement of the Achilles tendon, a decreased ability to flex the foot and redness or heat over the painful area.

Achilles Tendonitis Treatment
Most cases of Achilles tendinitis can be treated with relatively simple self-care strategies like icing, resting, proper footwear and taking anti-inflammatories for pain relief. Sleeping with a brace on your foot also allows a state of relaxed dorsiflexion. Gentle calf stretching exercises help to stretch the muscles and aid in faster recovery. Our physical therapists at Physical Rehab Clinic can teach stretching exercises to improve flexibility and increase calf strength.