The achilles tendon is a tough strip of fibrous tissue that runs from your heel bone to the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the calf. Achilles tendonitis is a repetitive stress injury that occurs when this tendon becomes inflamed and painful. In some cases, the achilles tendon may also be swollen.The insertional type of achilles tendonitis is a variant of this condition. With insertional achilles tendonits, the pain and inflammation occurs at the point at which the achilles tendon connects to the heel bone. The treatment of achilles tendonitis requires resting the tendon and allowing it to recover naturally. Warm up and stretching exercises are also useful in preventing the return of the condition.
Achilles tendonitis is usually the result of a sudden increase in training intensity among runners. It also frequently afflicts middle aged individuals who participate in running sports like tennis or basketball every few days after periods of inactivity. In general, this condition occurs when you subject your tendon to sudden sharp increases in activity without being allowed to warm up properly.
Achilles tendonitis usually announces itself with a moderate aching in the back of your leg just above the heel. As time passes, you may start to experience more severe pain in the achilles tendon. This may be especially the case after a run or maybe after climbing a flight of stairs.
In addition to pain, you may experience stiffness or tenderness in the area of your achilles tendon. This tenderness may be especially pronounced when you take your first steps after awakening in the morning.
As we have mentioned above, insertional achilles tendonitis is a form of tendonitis in which your pain occurs near the heel. In all other respects, the symptoms of this form of achilles tendonitis are as we have described above.
Swollen Achilles Tendon
If you have achilles tendonitis, you may also experience a swollen achilles tendon. However, this condition can also be the result of degeneration of the tendon. Therefore, be careful not to jump to conclusions if you notice that the tendon is swollen. Instead, consult with your doctor to understand the cause.
Treatment Of Achilles Tendonitis
The primary treatment of this condition is rest. Refraining from intensive physical activity for a few days or weeks will normally result in the disappearance of the pain and other symptoms.
However, you can also take steps to reduce the likelihood that the tendonitis returns (or to prevent its occurrence in the first place):
Warm up and stretch properly before commencing a run or any other strenuous activity;
If you intend to increase your running intensity, do so gradually over an extended period instead of suddenly;
Follow an exercise program to strengthen your calf muscles and increase their ability to handle the stresses of a more intense activity level;
Choose footwear that has more cushioning under your heel and better arch support, particularly when running.