Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of a thick fibrous tissue that emerges from the muscle belly called calf muscles of your lower leg and extends to get attached to the heel. Achilles’ tendon is the most prominent and the strongest tendon in your body.
You may feel it’s firmness and can estimate how tough it can be. It is subjected to experience extreme pressure while doing a vigorous physical activity such as running and jumping, which may sometimes inflame the tendon causing Achilles tendinitis.
Achilles tendinitis is not only prevalent in athletes but also among non-athletes. Following are the causes of Achilles tendinitis:
● Prolonged vigorous physical activity: repeated forceful movements may irritate the tendon, causing pain and swelling.
● Foot deformities: foot deformities such as flat foot, bony enlargement at the back of the heel may lead to Achilles tendinitis.
● Poor fitting shoes: tight shoes and less shock absorber shoes may exert stress on the tendon.
● Poor sports techniques: lack of warm up before sports and inappropriate sports techniques may also injure the tendon.
● Due to age: with age, the tendon may degenerate and become weak.
● You may experience a dull pain at the back of your ankle
● you may notice that the area has swollen
● You may feel the warmth on touch
● Your ankle movements may reduce
● Weight bearing may be painful
Acute Achilles tendinitis is easily treated with rest, ice therapy, compression, and elevating the affected limb, whereas, at the chronic stage, it takes quite some time to heal.
Achilles tendinitis becomes chronic if it is left untreated, the weak tendon may get torn, which further weaken the tendon-muscle unit where the movements become impossible. The tendon cord usually appears rigid and stiffness on stretching where activities aggravate the pain.
Chronic Achilles tendinitis may require alterations in lifestyles, an adaptation of proper sports techniques and exercise regimens. The exercise mainly comprises of tendon loading exercises and it is known to treat chronic Achilles tendinitis effectively.
Tendon loading exercise lengthens the muscles until the point where the stress on the tendon gets offloaded and allow it to heal faster. The exercise allows the tendon-muscle unit to contract and release in a controlled manner, which not only reduces the pain and swelling but also prevents further injury.
Tendon loading exercise such as toe raise and single leg bridging exercise in chronic Achilles tendinitis produces high forces without having to put much energy, which helps regain tendon power and muscle strength as well. The exercise also helps restore the muscle length and ankle range of motions, helping you to move around pain-free
Tendon loading exercise plays an important role in treating chronic Achilles tendinitis. It allows fast recovery with the right amount of load to your tendon-muscle unit, speed of exercise in a given period of time by your physiotherapist.