Achilles tendinitis is one of the most common lower leg ailments, particularly among active, middle-aged folk. With summer heating up in New Jersey and more and more people up and about, enjoying the outdoors during their free time, the risk of an injury is sure to rise.
Fortunately, as long as there hasn’t been any significant tearing (that would be an Achilles rupture), most cases of tendinitis can be resolved through conservative treatment options. In some cases, self-care measures can be more than sufficient; other times we may recommend additional podiatric assistance for stubborn cases.
The problem usually results from overuse. You start a new running program or dramatically increase your workout loads over a short period of time, and your body can’t take the strain. Giving your aching tendon a little break, then, is often the most important step. Remember the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Avoid activities that cause pain and distress, and use ice, compression, and elevation to minimize pain and swelling while you recover.
That all being said, “rest” doesn’t mean you can’t stay active! It just means that, while you might need to avoid running or jumping for a little while, you can still keep the blood pumping via low-impact exercise (like walking, swimming, or going for a bike ride). Besides, you will definitely want to engage in stretching exercises to relieve tendon stress and strengthen supporting muscles. Basic calf stretches, heel drops, eccentric strengthening, and other techniques have proven very valuable for chronic Achilles tendinitis sufferers; we’d be happy to help you put together a program that addresses your specific needs.
Sometimes your foot or leg structure itself conspires against you. Many people simply have tight calves, flat feet, or other problems that make this condition far more likely. In such cases, shoe inserts or orthotics can be your best conservative countermeasure. For example, an orthotic can slightly raise the heel or add additional support and cushioning as necessary for a flat arch. This can make a big difference, allowing you to run, jump, and play with a healthier stride and with far fewer injury problems.
When self-care methods for Achilles tendinitis prove unsuccessful, or pain has been particularly intense or insistent, please don’t simply retreat to a less active life. Call Associates in Podiatry and let our experts help you fix your problem. You can reach our Princeton, NJ office by calling (609) 924-8333, or our Roselle Park, NJ at (908) 687-5757.