Heel pain is common, and a common cause of heel pain is an inflamed Achilles tendon or Achilles Tendinitis (also spelled Tendonitis). The Achilles tendon is the largest, strongest, and most-used tendon in the body. It runs down the back of the lower calf, and connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.
While athletes are especially at risk of an inflamed or torn Achilles tendon, anyone can develop this condition. If the problem is not addressed promptly, movement will become severely restricted and surgery eventually may be necessary, so please contact Advanced Foot Care Centers as soon as symptoms appear and talk to one of our podiatrists for expert diagnosis and treatment.
Achilles tendinitis does not result from a particular injury; rather, it develops after repetitive stress on the tendon. For example:
- Chronic overuse, e.g. engaging in athletic activity like sprinting or jumping without stretching first and warming up
- Improper foot mechanics that distribute weight unevenly across the foot
- Poorly-fitting footwear
- Preexisting conditions that increase the risk of developing Achilles tendinitis, e.g. naturally shortened or ‘tight’ tendons, arthritis, flat feet, or a degenerative condition that affects tendon tissue
To prevent developing the condition, we recommend proper stretching before and after any kind of exercise, well-fitting footwear, and getting your overall foot and ankle health evaluated by one of our podiatrists.
- At first, the back of the heel hurts. The pain worsens after walking or exercising
- The affected area becomes swollen, tender, and warm to the touch
- The calf may swell
- The entire lower leg feels tight and stiff
- If you stand on your toes, you will experience severe pain in the lower part of your heel
What to do at the first signs of Achilles tendinitis
When you feel pain at the back of your heel or painful stiffness in your calf, call one of our offices for an appointment right away! You can take some steps on your own to soothe your Achilles tendon, including the following:
- Avoid high-impact movement and exercise
- Gentle stretching increases blood circulation
- Gentle massage
- Ice the area
Diagnosis and Treatment
Given the danger of rupturing the Achilles tendon if the inflammation is not treated, and the centrality of the Achilles tendon to your ability to move around, please contact us at the first sign of heel pain by phone or online appointment request. For your convenience, our podiatry practice has six locations in our communities in Tennessee (Hixson and Chattanooga) and North Georgia (Ft. Oglethorpe and Dalton). Our podiatrists are experienced and dedicated podiatrists who will help you heal and stay healthy.