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Achilles Tendonitis and Tendonosis

You are a very active person and exercise regularly.  You do not typically exercise but did get a lot of exercise recently. You are in training for an athletic event. You have flat feet or high arches.  What do you all have in common?  You can all develop Achilles Tendonitis!

The Achilles tendon is the strongest plantarflexor of the foot (points your foot down). Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Let's talk more about how a tendon so strong can get irritated and worn out.

Tendonitis results from overuse. Long-standing tendonitis becomes tendonosis (degeneration of the tendon) which is much harder to treat. This overuse can happen over a period of time or can happen over a weekend. Those of you who exercise regularly or are in training for an athletic event, as strong as the Achilles tendon is, this work horse could use a break every once in a while!  With chronic, long term, sustained use, this tendon becomes strained.  It also can become just as strained with whom we fondly refer to as the "weekend warriors". You know who you are! You are the ones who think it perfectly OK to hike the Appalachian Trail or take the steep way down the Grand Canyon over a three day weekend because "it was there"!

Flat feet can cause Achilles tendonitis? Who would have thought by that foot flattening out more than it should, the Achilles tendon would pull ever so slightly more, and, over time, cause pain. High-arched feet are just as bad. Too much pull on the tendon occurs due to a biomechanical disadvantage caused by a rigid high-arched foot.

The simplest form of treatment can involve rest, heel lifts, icing, inserts and anti-inflammatories.  More complex forms Achilles tendonitis can include immobilization through a boot or cast, physical therapy, and in the most resistant cases, surgery. The longer you have it, the worse it gets. Do not let it get that far. Tendonosis is a chronic degeneration that can lead to splitting of the tendon and long term disability!

Thinking of waiting to see if it works itself out or are trying to work through the pain?  Let us help you reconsider. Chronic Achilles tendonitis (tendonosis) results in degeneration and breakdown within the tendon and this, in turn, can lead to a partial tear or full rupture. Now that will put you out for more than a couple months! If you are experiencing a nagging pain or swelling to the Achilles tendon or the back of the heel, call or contact the office to have it evaluated. It is that simple.