(also spelled tendonitis) typically manifests as a sharp, intense pain along the back of the leg near the heel, extending up the calf.
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and is used when you walk, run, and jump. Although the Achilles tendon can withstand great stresses from running and jumping and other activities, it is also prone to tendinitis, a condition associated with overuse and degeneration.
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
Achilles tendinitis is usually not related to one specific injury. It typically results from repetitive stress to the Achilles tendon. This frequently happens with over-exertion, but other factors can contribute as well, including, but not limited to:
- A bone spur where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone, rubbing against the tendon and causing pain.
- Sudden increase in the amount and intensity of exercise activity — for example, increasing the distance you run every day by a few miles without giving your body a chance to adjust to the new distance.
- Tight calf muscles — Having tight calf muscles and suddenly starting an aggressive exercise program can put extra stress on the Achilles tendon.
Common symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include:
- Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon in the morning
- Pain along the back of the heel that worsens with activity
- Severe pain the day after exercising
- Thickening/swelling of the tendon
- Bone spur (insertional tendinitis)
- Swelling that gets worse throughout the day with activity
If you have experienced a sudden “pop” in the back of your calf or heel, you may have ruptured (torn) your Achilles tendon. See your doctor immediately.
AGE • Achilles Tendinitis can happen at any time, but age increases the risk. Putting stress on your feet and heels — activities such as running, ballistic jumping, ballet dancing and aerobic dance — can contribute to an earlier onset of the condition.
GENETICS • Being flat-footed, having a high arch, or having an uneven stride can affect and put added stress on the tendon.
WEIGHT • Excess weight, especially in conjunction with certain occupations, puts more demand on your feet. Police officers, construction workers, teachers and others who spend long hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage their Achilles Tendon. Every extra pound increases the pain and damage.
OCCUPATION / LIFESTYLE • Any occupations or lifestyles that put unusual amounts of stress on the foot are obvious contributors to tendinitis. Police, teachers, runners, and anyone spending time standing on hard surfaces are all at risk.
Ignoring tendinitis may result in a chronic condition that hinders or prevents normal activities. Altering your stride to minimize pain can lead to foot, knee, hip or back problems, exacerbating the problem.
Like Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendinitis affects millions in the U.S. alone. A large number of this group would be potential candidates for the Rebel Foot Sling™.