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lower leg pain, calf muscles, ankle pain

Achilles tendon

Achilles tendon inflammation

Many foot and lower leg pain complaints come from the lower leg muscles. Like Achilles tendon complaints often come from the calf muscles and ankle pain from the Tibia muscles. Often the doctor is misled by these complaints and diagnoses you with Heel spurs, tendon inflammation or Metatarsalgia of Morton – cramps, -numbness-swelling in the forefoot- The origin of foot and lower leg pain usually is found in the deep lower leg muscles and in the facia – the membrane that surrounds the muscles-

What is an Achilles tendon inflammation

Achilles tendon inflammation – tendinitis Achilles- is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the tendon that runs from the calf muscle to the heel. It is a so- called sterile inflammation- not bacterial-. The inflammation is painful and can make sporting impossible. , especially if the injury gets ignored and becomes chronical. This injury is just like Heel spurs, very common  and sometimes very persistent. It often occurs with runners and It is the cause of 17% of sport injuries !

Causes of Achilles tendon inflammation

The cause of Achilles tendon inflammation are often identic to heel spur inflammation. Overload and wearing wrong shoes are mostly responsible for the complaint, sometimes in combination with a derogation like flat feet, sagged feet or slack ankles. Older athletes are especially vulnerable. These factors add up to an unnatural load of the Achilles tendon, causing it to get damaged and possibly ignited.   

Other causes are;

  • A derogation of the foot whereas the foot somewhat swings to the inner side.
  • A difference of length in the legs
  • Stiff calf muscles
  • Overweight
  • Instability of the ankles
  • Also a sudden burden change could be the problem, such as mountain climbing during a Holliday, or a sudden raise in training kilometres by runners while training for a marathon.
  • Hard surface while exercising
  • Untrained fanatic sporting

Symptoms

At first, right after training, only minor pain complaints occur which disappear after a couple of hours. The pain in the Achilles tendon usually concentrates a few centimetres above the heel. When these pains are ignored the pain might aggravate and persist . During the warming up the pain complains might temporarily disappear to come back after training. In severe cases the pain exists continually and does not disappear resting. Especially after resting or in the morning, the area around the tendon and the tendon itself can feel stiff. Also the tendon can be swollen. In case of a Achilles tendon rupture (tearing) a severe pain in the Achilles tendon will occur and immediately walking will be impossible.

Treatment

In the initial stage usually the injury can be treated well. Once it becomes chronic it becomes much more difficult.

  • Rest; the best thing to do is to avoid stressful training. Go swimming, Spinning -only sitting-, ElliptiGO drive to keep in shape.
  • Warming up; Be sure to build up the load slowly. Start off easy with light stretch exercises. Be sure to do cooling down exercises after the training such as slowly walking out.
  • Do some stretching, especially on the calf muscles – long and short-
  • In an acute stadia, cooling with ice – not directly on the skin- might help by stimulating the blood flow towards the affected area. Do this especially after training preferably a couple of times a day. If the inflammation has become chronical then this method might be less affective.                                                    
  • A massage of the calf muscles helps to prevent an Achilles tendon inflammation as well as treating an inflammation.
  • Good shoes are very important, don’t economize on them.

Treating an Achilles tendon inflammation often takes a large amount of time because the pain complaint can be very persistent. Be sure to be careful not to burden the Achilles tendon too soon, otherwise the complaint might come back quickly. Stretch exercises to improve the mobility and learning about the special foot massage technics which are an important part of the healing. You will get tips and advice about a better posture and walking from me.

Insoles, podiatry, heel cushions, bandages or special stockings are often temporarily solutions. Do you wish to do something sustainable about it? Then switch to running on minimalistic shoes.