Achilles Heel Pain – What Is It?

The Achilles tendonitis is characterized as an inflamed and irritable condition affecting the large tendon at the back of ankles. This “Achilles heel pain” is a simple and common injury that usually affects recreational athletes.


Overusing the Achilles tendon can lead to inflammation, which in turn can lead to swelling and pain. This is different from another condition known as Achilles tendinosis. Patients suffering from this will also have to contemplate from chronic Achilles pain and swelling resulting from degenerative, microscopic tears in the tendon area.


The most common Achilles tendonitis causes are the lack of flexibility or overpronation. Aside from this, there are also other factors associated, like significant schedule changes in training exercises or recent footwear changes. Long distance runners are also prone to the Achilles tendonitis symptoms after they increase their mileage, or once they increase their hill training intensities. As individuals age, the tendons becomes less flexible and more rigid, just like any other tissues in the human body, and they become more prone to injuries. Mid aged recreational athletes are known to be the most susceptible to the condition.


Since heel pain has many causes, it would be smart to visit your doctor right away whenever your heel hurts so you can have it examined for signs of tenderness and swelling, and get advices for treatment. You will be asked to stand on one foot, walk, or perform other physical tests so that the heel pain cause can be accurately pinpointed.


The major complaint from Achilles tendonitis is the general pain behind the heel. This pain is most prominent in a 2-4 centimeter area above the tendon and heel attachment. This particular location, referred to as the tendon’s watershed zone is the spot where the blood supply going to the tendon makes the whole area susceptible. Patients suffering from the condition often complain of significant pain usually after inactivity. This explains why patients experience pain when taking their first walk in the morning, or when getting up after spending much time sitting down. There is also pain every time patients participate in various activities, like jumping and running.

Taking X-ray scans are usually normal in this case, though it is also performed to evaluate and asses other underlying conditions that need identifying. On some occasions, an MRI would be needed to check out for tears in the tendon. If everything comes down to surgical treatments, it would prove helpful for a pre-operation evaluation and planning.

Achilles heel pain treatment would begin with the resting of tendons to make way for the settling down of the inflammations. It also calls for certain stretching exercises, pain medication and sporting open-back shoes. In critical cases, adequate and sufficient rest may be required using crutches, or the immobilization of ankles. Doctors may suggest that Achilles tendonitis sufferers use 3/8” or 1/2” heel inserts. Part of the treatment calls for the stretching of the Achilles tendon; this is accomplished by leaning against a wall with the foot planted to the floor flat and solid, with the insert elevating the heel. Ice packs are also known to reduce inflammations within the heel.


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