Sports Focus Podiatry
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Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is the strongest and largest tendon in the body. The Achilles tendon connects the heel bone with the gastrocnemius-soleus muscle within the calf. The tendon is necessary for walking, running and jumping as the tendon causes the foot to push off the ground when the calf muscles tighten.

When the tendon is damaged, inflammation may result leading to Achilles tendonitis. The function of the tendon becomes impaired through a tear (such as from a sudden increase in training) or excessive stretching of the tendon (eg through overuse of incorrect shoes such as high heels). Tight calf muscles may also contribute to prolonged Achilles tendonitis due to the continual strain they exert on the tendon.

People with Achilles tendonitis may find running and jumping activities become painful and difficult. Stiffness and pain are usually felt towards the back of the ankle when pushing off the ball of the foot.

Achilles tendonitis is an inflammatory condition and therefore responds well to standard inflammatory treatment. When acute pain is present, the R.I.C.E method is suggested: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Anti-inflammatory medication may also be used.

Strengthening exercises may help restore the extensibility of the tendon and increase the strength of the tendon. Your podiatrist may prescribe orthotics, which reduce the strain on the tendon allowing it time to recover.

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