Experiencing lower calf, ankle and severe pain in the back of your heel — especially first thing after you get up after a long rest — may be an indication of Achilles tendonitis. This tissue is the large tendon that connects your calf muscle to the back of your heel. When it becomes overstretched, torn, or even broken from excessive pressure, the result is often this very painful condition.
Some of the causes of Achilles tendonitis
Skipping a good warm up before exercising and having poorly treated flat feet are two possible causes of injury. Others may include the following:
● Increasing a new exercise program too rapidly—One of the most common ways that injuries to the Achilles tendon occur is by starting a workout program too aggressively after years of inactivity.
● Repetitive use injury—Intense activities such as tennis and football or performing workouts that are too strenuous can cause an injury to this tendon.
● Improperly fitting shoes—Shoes with proper heel and arch support are essential to maintaining foot health. Always choose an athletic shoe that is designed for the activity you are doing and that contains the adequate amount of cushioning and support.
Some treatment options for Achilles tendonitis:
● Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE)—Rest your foot and use a cast, boot or crutches to take pressure off the foot. Ice the area for ten to fifteen minutes whenever it becomes too painful or inflamed. Compression wrap the area to minimize movement and to reduce swelling. Elevate your foot on a cushion while you rest or sleep.
● Pain management—Ibuprofen and other NSAID pain relievers can also reduce swelling.
● Orthotic shoe inserts—In combination with properly fitting shoes, these custom inserts can relieve the strain on the tendon and cushion the heel area preventing further damage and allowing healing to occur.
● Physical therapy—Slowly strengthening and stretching the area as the tendon improves, but without causing injury.
If the pain in your heel becomes so bad that it prevents you from walking, you may have a torn Achilles tendon that will need to be surgically repaired.
If you are suffering from pain in your heel, we highly recommend that you consult our board-certified podiatrists Andrew Shapiro, DPM and Michael Barkin, DPM. With access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, we can assist you with heel pain, ankle sprains, diabetic foot care, toe deformities, nail fungus, and skin problems, among many other conditions. Our practice is conveniently located on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream to accommodate all of your foot care needs. Call (516) 825-3860 or book an appointment online today!