The Magic Valley is one of the healthiest regions in the country. We love to get moving and enjoy the great outdoors! However, injuries like Achilles tendinitis can be an unfortunate side effect of all that activity. Although your Achilles tendon may be strong, it’s not indestructible. When overused over an extended period of time, the tendon can become irritated, inflamed, or even torn. This leads to pain, tenderness, and stiffness in the “heel cord” at the back of the leg—especially in the morning, after activities like running or climbing stairs, or even the day after vigorous exercise.
What Are the Causes of Achilles Tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis usually isn’t caused by a single, obvious injury. Instead, it is caused by repetitive motions or overuse. Certain activities can strain the tendon, and if you don’t give it enough rest time between activities, the wear and tear builds up slowly over time.
Activities and risk factors linked with increased rates of Achilles tendinitis include:
- Sports. Participation in running or other high-impact sports that require running and jumping can lead to an injury.
- Training choices. Suddenly increasing your activity rate a lot in a short time can greatly increase your injury risk.
- Footwear. Wearing shoes that are not appropriate for physical activity can cause injuries.
- Age. Tendons tend to lose strength and flexibility as you get older.
- Biomechanics. Flat feet, tight calves, and other various deformities and conditions can increase strain on the Achilles tendon.
How Can I Fix My Achilles Tendinitis?
Mild cases of tendinitis can often be treated at home. Pain that does not go away or becomes severe enough to affect your day-to-day life should be examined by our team of podiatric sports medicine specialists.
At home, manage your condition using the RICE protocol:
- Rest. Avoid activities that stress the tendon and increase your pain.
- Ice. Use ice packs as directed to help with swelling. If making your own ice pack, remember not to touch cold surfaces directly to the skin; wrap them in a thin towel first. Do not ice for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Compression. Use of compression wraps and bandages can reduce swelling and improve blood flow through the area.
- Elevation. Prop your feet up throughout the day to aid with swelling.
Make sure you also evaluate your footwear and training choices, and make any necessary changes to your equipment or routine before you get back to activity. With any luck, these self-care strategies may be all you need. However, if pain persists, please come see us.
At Canyon Foot & Ankle, we have you covered with effective treatments for Achilles tendinitis—including advanced regenerative techniques. Even if your tendinitis pain is severe, we can help you get back to full speed as quickly as possible. Potential treatment options may include:
- Physical therapy. We’ll teach you the exercises and stretches you need to relieve pain and re-strengthen the area around the Achilles tendon to prevent future injuries.
- Orthotics or bracing. If your Achilles tendinitis is linked to flat feet or other structural or biomechanical issues with your feet and ankles, these tools can be extremely effective for both treatment and prevention.
- Regenerative medicine. We are proud to offer state-of-the-art regenerative therapies (including MLS laser and biologic products) to bring swift relief for soft tissue injuries like Achilles tendinitis. These treatments stimulate natural healing processes in your cells and can significantly reduce the time required for healing and rehab.
As always, we personalize every treatment to fit the unique needs of each patient. And we pride ourselves on offering the latest and greatest evidence-based treatments—you don’t need to go to the big city to get advanced care. If pain in your heel cord is bothering you and keeping you from staying active, please call Canyon Foot + Ankle today at (208) 733-0436 in Twin Falls or (208) 678-2727 in Burley.