If you experience severe pain in the lower calf muscle after exercising that is followed by stiffness, pain, and inflammation the following morning, you may have a condition called Achilles tendonitis. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone and is the largest and strongest tendon in your body. However, excess stress or injury can cause the fibers of your Achilles tendon to stretch or even tear, resulting in debilitation and discomfort in the ankle and heel as well.
Achilles tendonitis often strikes individuals who haven’t been exercising, and then start a new exercise program and try to do too much, too fast. It is always best to start exercising gradually and increase your workout over time to avoid a variety of foot and ankle injuries. Repetitive stress from running, sprinting, and jumping can also lead to an Achilles tendon injury. Always wear shoes that are appropriate for the activity to help prevention tendon injuries.
Some treatments for Achilles tendonitis include the following:
- RICE—Rest, ice, compression, and elevation. It may necessary to wear a walking boot or to use crutches to take the pressure off the tendon while it heals. Icing the area will relieve swelling, and compression wraps are also helpful. Raising your foot above your heart, especially during the night, will speed the recovery process.
- Orthotic inserts—These are used to cushion and raise the heel to help relieve stress and pressure on the tendon.
- Physical therapy—Depending upon the severity of the injury, a careful program of stretching and strengthening exercises can gradually be applied.
If the pain in your heel and lower calf prevents you from walking, then you may have torn the tendon and should consult with your foot care professional right away. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX, is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions, to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.