The Achilles tendon is located at the back of the foot and links the calf muscles to the heel bone. One of the strongest tendons in the body, the Achilles tendon enables us to stand on our toes, flex the calves and roll the foot. Although it is resilient, it is also prone to injury and other foot problems. If you are experiencing pain at the back of the foot or have injured the Achilles, a visit to Newtown Foot & Ankle Specialists can put you back on the road to recovery with specialized care for your needs.
Common Achilles problems:
- Achilles tendonitis: an inflammation of the Achilles tendon due to overuse, improper stretching and injury
- Achilles tear: a more serious injury where the tendon has either micro or larger breaks that will cause swelling and discomfort
- Achilles rupture: also known as a full tear, a rupture is when the Achilles has become completely torn or separated from the bone and/or muscle
- Xanthomas of the Achilles tendon: small bumps on the tendon that are typically the result of high cholesterol
Many patients with Achilles tendon injuries and problems are athletic and active, leading to what is called an “overuse” injury. This type of sports injury should be cared for by a podiatrist. Our providers can offer the specialized care and advice needed to resolve the diagnosed problem and work with you to help prevent recurrence in the future.
Achilles problems: what are the treatment options?
There is a range of possible treatment options for Achilles pain, tendonitis, and other concerns. The first step is to evaluate the area using digital diagnostics and a physical exam. Once your podiatrist has identified the cause of your pain, swelling or other symptoms we will recommend appropriate care and any lifestyle habit changes that could prevent future re-injury and protect the Achilles during recovery.
- Rest, ice and pain medication: for minor concerns, the use of an over the counter pain and anti-inflammatory medication combined with rest and ice compression is usually enough to allow the tendon to recover.
- Custom orthotics: for chronic Achilles pain or for patients with overuse injuries, a custom orthotic to properly position and support the foot may help to stabilize the tendon and prevent a recurrence.
- Physical therapy: to strengthen the tendon and improve mobility, physical therapy is often recommended.
- Walking boot: a boot may be recommended for immobilizing the area while the Achilles tendon recovers from a more serious tear or tendonitis that is severe or persistent.
- Surgery: in the event of a full tear or rupture, surgery is needed to reattach the tendon, followed by the use of a boot and physical therapy to strengthen the tendon.
Achilles Tendon Lengthening
Achilles Tendon Injuries
Achilles Treatment FAQs
What are symptoms of achilles heel problems?
If a patient is experiencing pain in and above their heel it may be a sign of achilles heel problems. The pain may get worse over time and swell and become extremely painful to move. The main fear with achilles problems is that your achilles tendon may tear. In this case you will likely hear a snap and your ankle will be extremely swollen.
What can be done to protect athletes’ achilles tendons?
The best way to protect your achilles tendon is to know and understand your limitations with any physical activity. Most achilles injuries occur because of repeated pressure and straining on the muscle. Also wearing ankle protective shoes can prevent you from injuries and strain on the muscle. Stretching before physical exercise to be sure that your muscles are warmed up and ready before exerting pressure on them can also help prevent injury.
Is surgery the only option for repairing an achilles tendon?
There are multiple options your doctor will present you with when you have torn your achilles tendon. The severity of the injury may affect the amount of options you have. In some severe cases where the tendon has torn surgery may be required to restore your achilles back to full functionality. Non surgical treatment options may include ice, immobilization, pain killers, physical therapy, and custom orthotics.