Achilles pain when walking or running? How we treat Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles pain when walking or running?

If you are living with the pain and discomfort of Achilles Tendonitis, you know how challenging this condition can be. Whether you are just starting to experience symptoms or have been struggling with complications for some time, this information and Peak Performance Sports Therapy can help you treat and manage your condition more effectively and protect your long-term health. Take charge of your recovery today.

Treatment for Achilles tendonitis typically includes a combination of therapies that may include rest, ice, massage, Shock Wave therapy, and physical therapy. Surgery is rarely required. If you are experiencing symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis, it is important to develop an appropriate treatment plan before the condition worsens.

What is Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles Tendonitis is a condition that affects the Achilles Tendon, which is one of the major tendons in the body. Tendons are the long, tough, ropy and fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones. The Achilles Tendon is the large tendon connecting your calf muscles to your heel bone. It is a very strong muscle and can take a lot of impact but overstressing it can injure it.

Achilles Tendonitis is inflammation (irritation) of the tendon. Tendinitis can be very painful. It’s important to treat Achilles Tendinitis. Otherwise, it can become a long-term, chronic problem, making it difficult to walk.

According to the Cleveland Clinic website, there are actually two types of Achilles Tendinitis:

  • Noninsertional Achilles Tendinitis

    The fibers in the middle of the tendon start to break down, swell and thicken. This type of Achilles tendinitis affects people who are younger and more active.

  • Insertional Achilles Tendinitis

    This type affects the lower part of the heel, where the tendon connects, or inserts, to the heel bone. It can affect anyone, even people who aren’t active. But it most commonly affects people who overuse the tendon, such as long-distance runners.

What Causes Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis can be caused by a number of factors, including

  • Overuse of the calf muscles

  • Tightness in the Achilles tendon

  • Simply wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support

Achilles Tendon injuries are common in people who are very active and participate in sports regularly as well as people who have jobs where they are on their feet most of the day. Other risk factors for this condition include being overweight, having a history of injury to the Achilles Tendon, or participating in high-impact sports such as running or basketball.

If you are experiencing heel or calf pain and wondering why, ask yourself if any of these lifestyle characteristic sound like you:

  • Do you play sports regularly at a high level–3-6 days a week? Especially sports that involve quick stops and starts like tennis, basketball, baseball, or softball or sports that involve being on uneven ground like running, soccer, or rugby?
  • Do you have a job that puts stress on your feet and ankles? Jobs frequently mentioned as putting excessive strain on your feet include healthcare worker, classroom teacher, cashier, retail worker, assembly line worker, construction worker, and restaurant worker.
  • Are you a “weekend warrior”? Do you participate in sports infrequently leaving your body less used to the stress when you do engage in a sport or exercise activity?

You may also be at higher risk for Achilles tendinitis because of your anatomy (body shape and structure). For example, do you have:

  • Tight or weak calf muscles?
  • Bone spur (an extra bone growth in your heel that rubs the tendon, causing pain)?
  • Flat arches?
  • Overpronation (ankles that roll down and in when you walk)?

Treating Achilles Tendonitis in Cincinnati

In order to effectively treat and manage Achilles Tendonitis, it is important to first recognize the symptoms. The most common symptom of Achilles tendonitis is pain around the heel or calf area of the ankle, which can make it difficult or painful to walk, move normally, or stand for long periods of time.

If your pain has become chronic or recurring; if you want to permanently relieve your inflammation and return to doing all of the activities you enjoy, both at work and at play, it’s time to try more aggressive treatment. Common treatment options forAchilles Tendonitis include:

The most effective treatment will vary depending on the individual. At Peak Performance Sports Therapy, we can get you on the road to recover quickly by providing an individualized treatment and education package including all of these areas.

Massage Therapy for Achilles Tendonitis

Massage therapy can help to relax the Achilles muscle and reduce pain. More specifically, PPST therapists are trained in NeuroMuscular Therapy (NMT). NMT is a highly effective technique which eliminates pain caused by muscle overuse, strain and trauma, regardless of when the injury occurred. NMT focuses on trigger points-–tight spots in the muscle which are considered the source of up to 75 percent of the daily aches and pains people experience.

Physical Therapy

Stretching exercises and Physical Therapy can help to improve flexibility and range of motion in the Achilles, which can help to reduce pain in the affected muscles. Stretching exercises are also important in helping to prevent the recurrence of symptoms. Our physical therapist can guide you through these stretches.

Focused Shock Wave Therapy

Focused Shock Wave is an acoustic pulse (or sound wave) that is transmitted into the tissue that can help to reduce pain caused by Achilles Tendonitis. Damaged tissue that has experienced Focused Shock Wave gradually regenerates and eventually heals. This non-invasive office/clinic based procedure represents a breakthrough treatment option for a broad range of musculoskeletal conditions and is especially appropriate for areas of thick muscle and tissue like the heel.

It’s important to treat your Achilles Tendonitis before it leads to more severe conditions like:

  • Achilles tendinosis, when the tendon starts to degenerate (break down) because of unresolved Achilles tendinitis.
  • Achilles tendon rupture, a tear or break in the tendon.

Fun Fact-–the Origin of the Term “Achilles Heel”

The term Achilles heel references a vulnerability or weakness. In Greek mythology, Achilles was a hero of the Trojan War, the central character and greatest warrior of Homer’s Iliad. Achilles died because of a small wound on his heel. Achilles’ mother, according to the myth, dipped him in the River Styx, making his entire body invulnerable except for the part of his foot where she held him—the proverbial Achilles heel.

Don’t let your Achilles Heel keep you from doing all of the activities you love. Contact Peak Performance Sports Therapy for therapeutic Massage Therapy, Physical Therapy, and the revolutionary, nonsurgical Shock Wave Therapy and start healing your heel and calf pain today!

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If you are looking for treatment options for Achilles Tendonitis, please schedule an appointment with us through our online booking system. Our goal is to see clients for an initial visit as soon as possible, so we can get started on your treatment plan right away.

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