What begins as a dull ache can soon grow into a fiery pain, when you are dealing with a sore achilles. You can end up saying ‘bye-bye’ to your workout and hello to icing your ankle.  Achilles tendinopathy causes pain, swelling, stiffness and weakness of the achilles tendon that joins your heel bone to your calf muscles. It is thought to be caused by repeated tiny injuries to the achilles tendon.

poc_physicians_ankle_feetThere are a number of things that can lead to these repeated injuries, for example:

Overuse of the Achilles tendon. Often a problem for runners.

Training or exercising wearing inappropriate footwear.

Having poor training or exercising techniques.

Making a change to your training program.

Training or exercising on hard or sloped surfaces.

Having a high-arched foot.

Having poor flexibility.

Luckily, achilles tendinopathy is quite common and relatively easily to treat. Treatment includes strengthening and correcting the function of the Achilles tendon. As soon as the injury starts, and usually for about 1-3 days, the goal is to reduce pain and manage any swelling around the Achilles tendon. The standard RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) treatment is very helpful. At this point runners should stop running, ice the painful area, use compression socks, and elevate the leg for 10-15 minutes 1-2 times per day. Wearing shoes with a slightly higher heel-toe drop can also reduce the stress on the tendon as well. Time spent barefoot can further irritate the tendon, so it’s best to give the Achilles more support during this phase of treatment.

This approach can help you manage early pain from the injury, but it probably won’t heal it outright. For most people, the symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy usually clear within 3-6 months of starting conservative treatment. If your symptoms have not improved after 3-6 months, your doctor may suggest  a specialist orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine doctor. Most important is not to ignore the signs, if you are feeling pain take care of your self and never hesitate to ask a professional.

Fitzgerald, Jason. “How Runners Can Solve a Sore Achilles Problem.” competitor.com. Competitor Group Inc., 23 Feb. 2016. Web. 2 Mar. 2016.