Achilles tendonitis, like any tendonitis is one of the more common and one of the most difficult injuries to treat in athletes due to the individuals high level of activity and frequent reluctance to decrease or stop training. In addition the nature of the tendonitis tissue is a slow healing tissue. It is associated with pain in the back of the heel and 1" to 3" above it. The range of pain is from burning or prickly to shooting and piercing especially when running “uphill". The danger is, if left unresolved, the fibers of the tissue can become weak and rupture, accompanied by big swelling and pain. Or at the least due to minute tears in the fibers may result in painful scar tissue.
The causes of this injury can be:
- The single biggest cause of Achilles Tendonitis as is any tendonitis in the lower extremity is due to over-pronation (spreading of the foot to the floor with each step). As the heel bone everts (turns outward) in pronation the fibers of the tendon are repetitively stretched beyond their range of efficient “tracking" and heat builds up (inflammation) as the fibers of the tendon rub against the fascia (fascia is like a Saran wrap covering the tendon) harder than they should. In addition the pull at the insertion can cause this overgrowth of bone commonly seen technically called a “Haglund's Deformity".
- Improper shoe selection
- Improper warm-up: lack of flexibility due to lack of stretching (see stretching exercises)
- Direct trauma.
- Heel bone deformity (seen as a “growth" on the bone)
- Short Achilles Tendon (anatomical)
- "Functional shortage" (FS) of one leg.
- Avoid hills
- Ice after running
- Decease mileage
- Stretching program, including entire lower extremity. Stretching of gastroc (Achilles) and soleus muscles should be learned"technically" correctly.
- Heel lift(s) under the affected part
Silicone Dynamic Orthotics, minimizes the overpronation forces allowing greater efficiency of the “tracking’ of the tendon.
Copyright 2006 Dennis Kiper, all rights reserved.
Dennis N. Kiper, D. P. M. , specializes in Podiatric Sports Medicine.
Web Site: http://www.drkiper.com