Achilles Tendon – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Achilles Tendon

Achilles tendon contracture is a shortening of the Achilles tendon (tendon calcaneus or heel cord), which causes foot pain and strain, with limited ankle dorsiflexion. Achilles tendonitis is a painful and often debilitating inflammation of the Achilles tendon, also called the heel cord. The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. It is located in the back of the lower leg, attaches to the heel bone (calcaneus), and connects the leg muscles to the foot.

Causes of achilles tendon injury

There are several factors that can cause achilles tendonitis. The most common cause is over-pronation. Over-pronation occurs in the walking process, when the arch collapses upon weight bearing, adding stress on the achilles tendon.

Achilles tendon contracture may reflect a congenital structural anomaly or a muscular reaction to chronic poor posture, especially in women who wear high-heeled shoes and joggers who land on the balls of their feet instead of their heels. Other causes include paralytic conditions of the legs, such as poliomyelitis and cerebral palsy and improper shoe selection.

Signs and symptoms of achilles tendon injury

The main complaint associated with Achilles tendonitis is pain over the back of the heel. Sharp, spasmodic pain during dorsiflexion of the foot characterizes the reflex type of Achilles tendon contracture. In foot drop (fixed equinus), contracture of the flexor foot muscle prevents placing the heel on the ground. Some of the common symptoms are :-

  • Swelling over the Achilles tendon
  • Crackling or creaking sound when you touch or move the tendon.
  • Achilles tendinitis include pain when pushing off during walking or when rising on your toes, redness and swelling over your Achilles tendon.
  • Patients with tendinosis may experience a sensation of fullness in the back of the lower leg or develop a hard knot of tissue (nodule).

Home remedies for the treatment of achilles tendon

  • Rest and apply cold therapy.
  • Take help of sports injuries specialist who could tell some exercises.
  • Take Manganese: 25 to 100 mg twice a day for the first 2 weeks after injury, then 10 to 15 mg twice a day.
  • Include: fresh vegetables and fruits, flax seed meal, flax seed oil, deep water fish, fresh water, organically raised foods.
  • Wearing a cast or walking boot, which allows the ends of your torn tendon to reattach themselves on their own. This method can be effective, and it avoids the risks, such as infection, associated with surgery.
  • Achilles tendon contracture is treated conservatively by raising the inside heel of the shoe (in the reflex type); gradually lowering the heels of shoes (sudden lowering can aggravate the problem), and stretching exercises, if the cause is high heels; or using support braces or casting to prevent foot drop in a paralyzed patient.
  • Alternative therapy includes using wedged plaster casts or stretching the tendon by manipulation. Analgesics may be given to relieve pain.
  • Take Vitamin E: 400 IU daily.

Prevention tips

  • To help prevent an Achilles tendon injury, gently stretch your Achilles tendon and calf muscles before taking part in physical activities.
  • Apply ice to your Achilles tendon after exercise.
  • Alternate high-impact sports, such as running, with low-impact sports, such as walking, biking or swimming.
  • For patients who aren’t paralyzed, teach good foot care, and urge them to seek immediate medical care for foot problems. Warn women against wearing high heels constantly, and suggest regular foot (dorsiflexion) exercises.

Useful References

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