Achilles Tendonitis is Latin for 'inflammation of the achilles tendon'. The achilles tendons are the longest tendons in the body, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. When the calf muscles contract, they pull on the achilles tendon, causing the foot to point down and helping you rise on your toes. Hence, the achilles plays an important role in walking and running.
Achilles pain occurs just above the back of the heel and often you will also experience tightness in the calf muscles. The achilles tendon may be noticeably thickened and tender to the touch. Pain is present with walking and running, especially when pushing off on the toes.
Achilles Tendonitis pain can develop gradually without any history of injury or trauma. The pain can be a burning pain, a shooting pain, or even an extremely piercing pain. This condition should not be left untreated because there's a chance the tendon will become weak and ruptured. Achilles Tendonitis can be aggravated by activities that repeatedly put stress on the tendon, causing irritation and inflammation. Achilles pain is a common problem, and often experienced by athletes, particularly distance runners. It is a difficult injury to treat in athletes due to their high level of activity and reluctance to stop or slow down their training. People who suffer from Achilles Tendonitis often notice that their first steps out of bed in the morning are very painful. Or pain after taking your first steps after long periods of sitting. The pain often lessens with activity.
What causes Achilles Tendonitis?
Persistent strain on the achilles tendons causes irritation and inflammation. In severe cases this strain may even cause the tendon to rupture! Chronic overuse (particularly in runners) may contribute to changes in the Achilles tendon and may lead to degeneration and thickening of the tendon. Tight calf muscles also contribute to Achilles Tendonitis (or Tendinopathy). As we age, our tendons will degenerate. Degeneration means that wear and tear occurs in the tendon over time, leading to weakness in the fibres of the tendon. The most common cause is over-pronation. Over-pronation occurs in the walking process, when the arch collapses upon weight bearing, adding stress on the achilles tendon. Other factors that may lead to Achilles Tendonitis include badly worn shoes, inadequate stretching prior to engaging in athletics, a short achilles tendon, direct trauma (injury) to the tendon or heel bone deformity. To help combat over-pronation the use of Orthotic Insoles is recommemded: