The Achilles tendon is the collection of fibrous tissue that connects your heel bone to your calf muscles. This tendon is essential to helping you run, walk, and even stand on your tiptoes when you're searching for something on the upper shelves of your grocery store. Unfortunately, the Achilles tendon is also quite prone to injury.
Intense and continuous physical activity, such as running, jumping, or even excessive walking can cause painful inflammation in the Achilles Tendon, resulting in symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis. Some people believe that compression therapy gear can be useful at fighting back against this condition, but before you can find the right treatment, it's important to notice the causes, and symptoms.
Causes of Achilles Tendonitis
Perhaps the most common cause behind symptoms of Achilles tendonitis, is excessive walking or exercise. This can be a particularly significant problem for athletes who like to remain active as much as possible. However, it is possible for factors unrelated to exercise to contribute to a person's risk of suffering from this condition. For instance, infections and the presence of rheumatoid arthritis can both be correlated with tendonitis.
Typically, most repeated activities that place strain on the Achilles Tendon can be associated with the presence of tendonitis, and a few of the most common causes are:
- Wearing high heels regularly
- Wearing shoes that do not fit properly
- Playing sports that require quick changes in direction or stops (such as tennis)
- Straining the muscles of the calf through regular exercise
- Exercising without the appropriate period of warmup.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis
By far the most common offender in symptoms of Achilles tendonitis is the presence of swelling or pain around the back of your heel that seems to worsen when you run, or walk. However, different people will experience this condition with varying results. For instance, some of the alternate symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis may be:
- The presence of tight calf muscles
- A limited range of motion when you attempt to flex your foot
- A feeling of overheating around your feet
- Excessive swelling or discomfort when walking
Diagnosing the Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis
In order to make a solid diagnosis, your doctor will typically ask you a number of questions about your current condition, and the painthat you might be feeling. When conducting an examination, you may be asked to attempt standing on your tiptoes so that your doctor can better evaluate your range of flexibility and motion. Often, a physician may also touch the area where the pain is, to help find the origin of the injury, and determine where the swelling and pain are most severe.
In some rare cases, diagnosing the presence of Achilles tendonitis may require the use of imaging tests such as an MRI scan, which can help to detect the degeneration of tissue, ultrasounds which can show movement in tendons and any related damage, and X-rays, which will provide images of the bones throughout the leg and foot.
Most of the time, imaging tests will be unnecessary in cases of Achilles tendonitis.
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