If you're experiencing pain in the back of your ankle and heel area, you might have Achilles tendonitis. The Achilles tendon runs along the back of your lower leg and ankle where it attaches to your heel. It can become inflamed and sore from running or wearing shoes that don't support your feet properly. Here are a few tips for treating the condition and preventing it from returning.
Treat Pain With Rest And Ice
Many cases of Achilles tendonitis can be treated with home remedies. One thing you can do is rest your ankle while your tendon heals. You may need to avoid running for several days and keep your foot elevated as much as possible. Ice treatments serve two functions. When you apply ice to the back of your ankle, it helps reduce inflammation and swelling in the tendon. Ice is also a natural pain reliever. Apply ice for several minutes at a time throughout the day when you're resting your foot.
Wear Shoes That Support Your Feet And Ankles
If you have a habit of wearing the same pair of shoes until they are totally worn out, you may need to change your ways. Shoes that are worn down don't support your feet. If you run in your shoes every day, you definitely want to toss out your shoes when they start to get worn. This may prevent further problems with tendonitis, and new, supportive shoes may help relieve some of the pain when your tendonitis flares. Another option is to put inserts in your shoes. A heel pad may help because it lifts your heel and reduces the amount of stretching done by your Achilles tendon. The pad also absorbs shock when you run and it cushions your heel. You may also benefit from arch supports.
If you have problems with tendonitis often, you should probably see a foot and ankle specialist to find out what's wrong. You may have a gait abnormality that can be corrected with the right kind of shoe inserts. A podiatrist can make custom orthotics if you need them. These inserts stabilize your feet so your ankles don't twist, and so pressure is applied evenly across the soles of your feet. This helps prevent the stress on your Achilles tendon that leads to tiny tears and inflammation.
Do Calf Exercises And Stretches
Another reason it's a good idea to see a specialist about your condition is so you can learn how to do stretches and exercises that will speed healing of your injury and help prevent further injuries. Doing daily stretches, and stretching before you run, helps keep your tendon flexible, so it isn't prone to injury if your foot twists when you run or when you run up a hill or on uneven terrain. Calf exercises are important too because when your leg and ankle muscles are toned and strong, they offer support to your tendon and foot, which helps prevent injury. Doing gentle exercises when you're injured can help you maintain flexibility and full range of motion in your ankle and foot, which might help you heal quicker and avoid stiffness. The key is to make sure you do the exercises right so you don't cause further injury. Your podiatrist can teach you the moves you need to know so you can exercise on your own at home.
It could take weeks to fully heal from Achilles tendonitis. That doesn't mean you need to be sedentary the entire time. Staying active will probably speed your healing as long as you follow the podiatrist's instructions. However, you don't want to ignore the pain and push through it, or your injury could worsen. A tiny tear in your tendon could suddenly rupture or split, and that could require surgery to repair.
For more information, contact companies like Elmhurst Podiatry Center Ltd.