In relation to the foot, it is the largest tendon in the body - the Achilles tendon - that is affected, causing inflammation and pain along the back of the leg near the heel.
What causes Achilles Tendonitis?
While condition is extremely common in runners and athletes, other causes may include:
- Excessive exercise sessions - especially in very hilly or cold environments
- Walking or running
- New runners who over-exert themselves while training
- Playing sports; particularly sports that require quick stops and changes of direction - like tennis, racquetball or soccer
- Exercising without properly warming up
- Wearing old, worn-out or ill-fitting shoes
- Wearing and walking in high heels for lengthy periods of time
- Suffering from shin splints or other conditions and continuing to exercise or train "through the pain"
- Age is a common risk factor, as the Achilles tendon weakens as we grow older
- High-blood pressure, certain antibiotics, Rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes have also been linked to cases of tendonitis
How do I know if I have Achilles Tendonitis?
The most common symptoms include:
- Discomfort, pain or swelling in the back of the heel (particularly when walking or running);
- Unusually tight calf muscles;
- Limited range of motion when flexing the foot;
- Skin on the heel of the foot feels overly warm to the touch.
In some cases, if left untreated, the Achilles tendon can rupture or tear - and in some extreme scenarios bone spurs may form.
Treatments for Achilles tendonitis can range from resting and taking a break from strenuous exercise or activity, applying ice to the affected area, taking over the counter anti-inflammatory medications (like ibuprofen) or (in more severe cases) steroid injections or surgery may be necessary.
Can you prevent Achilles Tendonitis?
There are preventative measures you take to prevent Achilles Tendonitis. These include:
- Stretch daily
- Properly warming up prior to exercise and cooling down afterwards
- Easing into a new exercise routine or training program
- Gradually increasing the intensity of physical activity
- Resting after intense exercise
- Alternate between high intensity and low intensity exercise
- When transitioning from heels to flats in day to day wear, consider doing so gradually
- Wearing shoes that fit properly and replace worn-out shoes/footwear
Another preventative (and restorative) measure is to build up strength from your body's foundation - the foot - with the Barefoot Science strengthening system of insoles.
Insoles for tendonitis pain? How can BAREFOOTSCIENCE™ help?
Pain and dysfunction is caused by muscle weakness, so it follows that strengthening is the path to wellness. BAREFOOTSCIENCE™ promotes a balance of strength and flexibility in the foot and leg muscles that works to relieve tension on the Achilles tendon - protecting it and the calf muscles from injury.
Through rehabilitation and strengthening work, the Barefoot Science system progressively builds a better foundation for pain free movement.
Whether or not you're currently suffering, we want to help you find your perfect fit and kick off the journey to stronger feet! Click the link below to discover which of the Barefoot Science insoles is right for you: