Dealing with heel pain? It could be Achilles tendonitis.
Achilles was one of the most well-known warriors in Greek mythology who was taken down by—you guessed it—his Achilles tendon; however, even if you aren’t a warrior you can still deal with heel pain caused by Achilles tendonitis. Our Oxnard and Ventura, CA, podiatrist, Dr. Steven Vines, is here to tell you more about this surprisingly common inflammatory condition and what you can do to treat it.
What is Achilles Tendonitis?
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, running from the calf muscles to the heel bone. It’s always working hard for you whenever you walk, jump or even stand on your tiptoes to reach for something. Even though this tendon is pretty strong and durable it can become overworked. In fact, Achilles tendonitis is one of the most common foot-related overuse injuries.
What are the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis?
If you have Achilles tendonitis then you may feel pain along the outside of the heel (near the heel bone) that’s worse in the morning when you first wake up. The pain may be exacerbated by certain physical activities. Along with pain there may also be swelling that comes and goes, as well as decreased flexibility in the ankle.
How is Achilles tendonitis treated?
First and foremost, our Oxnard and Ventura foot doctor will examine the foot and run imaging tests to properly diagnose whether your symptoms are due to Achilles tendonitis or another condition. Once we determine that it’s Achilles tendonitis we will provide you with simple ways to manage your symptoms to allow your foot the proper amount of time it needs to heal. It’s common for symptoms to last up to 3 months or longer, even with proper care.
Here are some nonsurgical options for treating your Achilles tendonitis:
Rest: It’s important to avoid any activities that could exacerbate your symptoms. Take time off and give your feet a little reprieve.
Ice: Icing the heel when it’s swollen or painful is a great way to reduce both symptoms without having to rely on medication.
Pain relievers: If you are dealing with pain and swelling one of the easiest temporarily solutions that can offer relief is an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.
Exercise/Physical therapy: While this doesn’t mean going back to your workout regimen, this does mean that you can do some stretching and strengthening exercises for the calf muscles. Our Oxnard and Ventura foot expert would be happy to show you some exercises you can do to improve the muscles.
Other treatment options include steroid injections (for severe pain and swelling), custom orthotics (shoe inserts) and shockwave therapy. If symptoms don’t improve after 6 months then you may want to consider surgical options.
If you are dealing with heel pain in Oxnard or Ventura, CA, and you can’t find the relief you need from your symptoms then call Dr. Vines today to schedule a consultation and find out what’s going on.