Signs you're suffering from Achilles tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation caused by overuse of the Achilles tendon, the largest and strongest tendon in the human body. Located at the back of the lower leg, it connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Given this prime location, it’s involved in virtually every human movement, ranging from simply standing up to running a marathon and climbing a tree! Despite the Achilles tendon’s strength, its constant usage makes it vulnerable to injury.
Achilles Tendonitis is relatively common in active people, particularly walkers, runners and those who play sports that require sudden stops or directional changes. This is due to the strain that these activities can place on your calf muscles. The stress inflames the Achilles tendon and it can worsen if not treated. Other causes include wearing high heeled shoes for extended periods, wearing shoes that don’t fit well or lack support, and having pre-existing bone spurs on the heel.
Read on for our guide to the signs of Achilles tendonitis and some suggestions for preventing it.
The main cause of Achilles tendonitis is overuse or strain without adequate rest. As such, avid runners or those who take part in sports that involve regular impact on the Achilles tendon, such as football or basketball, are most at risk of suffering this injury.
Aside from overusing or overstretching, there are a number of other things that can contribute to you developing Achilles tendonitis. A sudden increase in the intensity or frequency of your exercises may cause inflammation in your Achilles tendon, as will wearing poor-quality footwear while exercising (especially running).
One of the biggest causes of Achilles tendonitis is failing warm up correctly before exercise. Warming up prepares the body for exercise by increasing blood flow and loosening muscles and tendons. Without this step, the body goes into exercise stiff, and stiff joints, muscles, and tendons are easily injured under pressure. The reason that people often skip warming up is that it’s rarely ever fun, especially when you’re short on time and want to get on with your run. But be warned, skipping this crucial step is a recipe for injury in the long run.
Other health conditions can also contribute, such as being overweight or suffering from arthritis in your hips, knees, or ankles.
Achilles tendonitis manifests as a dull ache in your heel and lower calf, and the surrounding area may become tender. Pain is usually more severe after a period of physical activity, but will usually last all day.
You may experience some stiffness around your heel and a limited range of motion, especially when you first wake up. It might take you a while to ‘get going’ each morning. You may also have difficulty walking with your usual gait.
Most people who suffer from Achilles tendonitis won’t have any visible symptoms, but in more serious cases, you may be able to see the inflammation. Your tendon may become thicker and your ankle may swell, and this can increase with physical activity. Some people even develop bone spurs – additional bone growth – on their heel which will form a hard lump under the skin on the back of the heel.
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned here, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Coming back from Achilles tendonitis
If you suspect that you are suffering from Achilles tendonitis, please visit our dedicated Injury Advice page for how to treat the condition. We’re also firm believers that prevention is better than cure, and one way to protect yourself against Achilles tendonitis is by using Enertor insoles.
Our insoles have been proven to absorb impact like no other insoles. Our patented D3O technology works by forming a soft cushion for your foot when moving slowly and then locking up when subjected to impact, dispersing the energy in order to protect your foot and ankle. It’s the reason why the likes of Usain Bolt and the British Armed Forces advocate the use of our insoles. Receive unparalleled comfort and protection from injury with Enertor insoles – browse our product range to find the right ones for you!
Taking preventative measures when beginning a new activity, rather than looking for a cure once it’s too late, is always recommended. Warming up thoroughly before performing any form of exercise is essential for injury prevention, and becomes increasingly vital as we age. Even if it feels tedious, correctly stretching and loosening your Achilles tendon will protect you from injury.
We would like to add a disclaimer that we are not medical experts and the advice given should serve only as a guide. If you think you may be experiencing any of the symptoms discussed, consult a doctor or a sports injury expert immediately.