Achilles tendonitis is a condition caused by overuse, where the Achilles tendon (that is, the tendon that joins the calf muscle to the heel) is injured. Achilles Tendonitis can also be called Tendinopathy. It is a condition where the Achilles tendon structure slowly breaks down, and repetitive strain is commonly the cause of this injury.
The first process involved is the tendon becoming inflamed, but other processes occur in no time. Blood vessels then start to grow in the tendon, and the fibers of the Achilles tendon become tangled. Without adequate treatment, the process proceeds.
Unfortunately, Achilles tendonitis does not often get better with only rest. Let us consider whether orthotic insoles can also help treat Achilles tendonitis.
Is Orthotics Needed for Achilles Tendonitis?
Orthotics insoles can help treat Achilles Tendonitis to a large extent. There are various types of Achilles tendonitis that can benefit from orthotics insoles. They are:
Insertional Achilles Tendonitis
The lower part of the tendon, where the tendon attaches to the heel bone, is usually affected by this condition. Any pain caused by insertional Achilles tendonitis can be eased with custom-made orthotics and shoe insoles.
Non-insertional Achilles Tendonitis
The muscle fibers in the middle portion of the tendon are usually affected by this condition. It typically affects the younger population, who are more active physically. Therefore, it is crucial to keep a close eye on the levels of your feet’s pain, swelling, and movement restrictions.
Moreover, it is essential to visit your healthcare practitioner when there is excruciating pain, extreme movement restriction, or excessive swelling and redness.
Causes of Achilles Tendonitis
Some factors may be the reason for the development of Achilles tendonitis. This situation is not the result of an injury, but usually develops over time with too much exercise or a dramatic increase in the time or frequency of training.
There are also a number of causes of heel pain which do not involve motion which includes rheumatoid arthritis or infection, which places people at risk for Achilles tendonitis. Apart from that, the following are other causes of Achilles tendonitis:
Heavy Physical Activity or Excessive Use
The excessive use of the Achilles tendon results when an individual finishes an intense rate of physical activity, which is a drastic increase from what they are used to. For instance, someone who doesn’t run regularly should not start a new intense program without easing into it at first. Sudden changes in levels of exercise are the major cause of Achilles tendonitis.
Not Properly Warming Up Before Exercising
The Achilles tendon requires being gently warmed up before exercise begins. Without doing so, the Achilles tendon is expected to bear the stress and strain of physical activity without prior preparation. Taking the time to warm up beforehand can make a tremendous difference in the response of the Achilles tendon to physical activity, thereby giving room for it to become more malleable and more flexible with time.
Failure to Stretch Properly
Stretching is a crucial part of any successful exercise or training program. It is used to prevent injuries that are caused by the physical demands placed on muscles which are not well prepared. When muscles are yet to be stretched, they are usually shortened and tight. Meanwhile, sudden activity can result in stress and injury.
Training or Running in Inflexible Shoes
Any footwear that is too rigid doesn’t give room for minor adjustments in the gait and forces the Achilles tendon to twist in a way that is not natural. This results in undue strain on the tendon, consequently leading to Achilles pain and inflammation.
Running on Uneven Surfaces or Very Hard Ground
Surfaces like stone or concrete do not forgive the joints and muscles of the body. As you run on a hard surface, it causes your feet to beat on the pavement. This can add so much strain to the heel and the Achilles tendon.
Uneven surfaces result in imbalances in the way the foot strikes the ground. Additionally, an unstable gait can result in Achilles tendonitis.
Runners should try to run on artificial surfaces such as turf or softer surfaces such as grass or gravel at any possible place, so as to reduce their risk of injury.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis
The most common symptom of Achilles tendonitis is swelling and pain at the back of the affected person’s heel. The pain may start as a mild ache before it becomes more pronounced and localized during exercise. Running or walking will intensify the pain and make it feel worse than it did while the body was still at rest. Other symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:
Limited Range of Motion in the Foot
Achilles tendonitis makes different positions of the foot severely painful, like the movement between a foot in the pointed position and a flexed foot. When the Achilles tendon is either inflamed or torn, this type of motion is excruciating.
Swelling at the Back of the Heel that Increases With Activity
As an individual exercises or uses the Achilles tendon through walking, they continue to make worse the symptoms of their condition that are already existing. They may notice increased redness, swelling around the heel and ankle after exercising, and warmth.
Bone Spurs at the Back of the Heels
Bone Spurs may start forming due to a kind of pain called insertional Achilles tendonitis, where the damaged tendon fibers begin to calcify and form hardened heel spurs at the back of the foot.
Tightness in the Calf Muscles
After overworking the Achilles tendon, it can lead to the seizure of all the surrounding muscles, becoming rigid and tense in response to the injury. Due to the fact that the Achilles tendon is directly connected to the calf muscle, the two frequently mirror each other in their injuries and symptoms.
Treat Achilles Tendonitis Immediately
The pain and discomfort of Achilles tendonitis can make it hard for anyone to carry out their normal activities daily. When an injury prevents an individual from enjoying their normal range of motion, it is a problem that should be addressed as soon as possible in order to maintain physical wellness and, ultimately, quality of life.
Hence, if you are experiencing pain and believe you are expressing symptoms of Achilles tendonitis, visit a healthcare professional immediately and get treated, especially with orthotic insoles.