An Achilles tendon injury, either a tear or a rupture, can happen to anyone – even well-conditioned athletes.
The Achilles tendon connects the heel bone to the calf muscles. It’s the largest tendon in the body and we use it every day to stand, walk, run and go up onto your toes.
We Are Seeing More Achilles Tendon Injuries
Doctors have seen a 300% increase in Achilles tendon injuries in the last 10 years. This year approximately 230,000 patients will need treatment for some type of injury to the Achilles tendon.
What is the main reason for this large increase? Many individuals overdo exercise and activities that strain the ankle and Achilles tendon, especially those between ages of 30 and 50. Athletes who participate in sports and activities like running, basketball, tennis, football, dance and gymnastics are prone to these types of injuries, especially if a competition requires them to run over uneven ground.
Treating Achilles Tendon Injuries
If you experience some stiffness and pain in the Achilles tendon area, your injury may be moderate. Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM recommends that you rest the foot as much as possible and apply ice to the area several times a day. Avoid your normal workout activities until the tendon is completely healed.
If your pain is more acute, you may have a tendon rupture or tear which requires quick professional care. Please come see us right away if you experience severe pain and swelling, especially if you are not able to stand on your toes or push off with that foot.
If the damage to the tendon is severe, we will discuss surgical options with you.
How To Reduce the Risk of an Achilles Tendon Injury
Injury to the Achilles tendon often happens when there is a sudden increase in the stress on the tendon. You can reduce the risk of injury by:
- Wearing the right shoes for your chosen activity. Replace shoes when they have become too worn.
- Wearing an ankle brace during hazardous workouts such as a mud run competition.
- Stopping your exercise quickly if you feel any pain or tightness in your calf or heel.
- Increasing your exercise intensity and frequency gradually.
- Limit running on hard or slippery surfaces or on uneven ground.
- Stretching gently before and after your workouts.
- Practicing strengthening and balance exercises. Reduce stress on the Achilles tendon with calf stretches that also strengthen the calf muscle. Try standing on one leg for 10 seconds and then alternate legs.
Let Us Help Relieve Your Achilles Tendon Pain
Board certified podiatrist Dr. Alexopoulos has extensive experience with sports injuries of all kinds, especially Achilles tendon injuries. Many treatments and surgeries can be addressed right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website.