How to Stop Achilles Tendon Pain

by | Jan 16, 2017

Achilles tendon pain is a familiar feeling for many, especially for physically active adults nearing (or passing) their middle ages. Repetitive, intense strain on the tendon—from, say, frequent distance running or intense weekend basketball games—can cause pain for people of any age, of course.

Fortunately, treatment and prevention for Achilles tendon pain can typically be managed mostly or entirely at home. If the problem is tendinitis, which typically presents as a dull pain, tenderness, stiffness, and swelling in the back of the leg, the first order is to get some rest. Stay off your feet as much as you can for a few days, and avoid vigorous physical activity. That means NO running, by the way, not “only run 5 miles instead of my usual 10.” Sorry!

In the meantime, you can use temporary icing (no more than 20 minutes at a time, with a break of at least an hour in between) or over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to ease the most severe pain. We also strongly recommend stretching exercises, particularly for your calves, as a way to relieve stiffness, tightness, and tension. When you visit our office, we can make further recommendations on exercises to try, and also determine whether a custom orthotic can help you recover and prevent future injuries.

If you find tendon pain recurs frequently, several prevention strategies exist to help you reduce your risk. We’ve already mentioned orthotics and stretches, but here are some others to try:

  • Ease into new activities gradually and build up your mileage slowly—increase by no more than 10% per week.
  • Make sure your shoes are in good shape and providing the fit, cushioning, and support you need.
  • Perform strengthening exercises to build stronger calf muscles, which are more resistant to injury.
  • Cross train your activities so you aren’t always running or playing high-impact sports. Try hitting the weights, going for a bike ride, or taking a swim instead to give your tendon a chance to recover.

Now, there’s one big exception we need to discuss. Home care usually works for inflammatory tendon pain, but if the tendon has actually torn—partially or completely—you’ll need a little more help. You’ll be able to tell the difference—while tendinitis emerges over time, ruptures are sudden and very painful injuries. If this happens to you, make an appointment as soon as possible and we’ll go over treatment methods with you. Most people opt for surgery, but they can also be treated conservatively in many cases.

Whenever it comes to foot and ankle pain, the best choice you can make is a trip to Premier Podiatry Group in Ebensburg, PA. Let our experts evaluate your condition so you can get the guidance and treatment you need for a full, quick recovery. Request an appointment online, or give us a call at (814) 472-2660.