The Achilles tendon runs down the back of the lower leg and connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Also called the “heel cord”, the Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and facilitates walking by raising the heel off the ground. Achilles tendonitis presents as pain in the Achilles tendon or the back of the heel. There are many causes of Achilles tendonitis, but most of these include: an overuse or “weekend warrior” type activity, flat feet, certain medications, a bone spur, or an ankle injury. It is not a problem you should treat casually nor should it be treated only by a home remedy. Left untreated or inadequately treated it can lead to permanent damage to the tendon: including: tendinosis, a partial tear, or a rupture. So our first suggestion is to go see your podiatrist as soon as possible.
Try this 10-Step Achilles Relief Plan for 3 weeks. If you are not better, see a podiatrist.
|1. Use a Silipos Achilles Heel Guard to protect the tendon from pressure and friction in shoes. It is the only product which protects these areas without slipping. It is composed of a comfortable elastic sleeve, with a long lasting gel cushion designed to absorb pressure and friction. Washable.|
|2. Use a night splint at night to prevent tightening of the tendon while you are in bed and help eliminate pain in the morning. The Ossur Night Splint is our favorite for Achilles problems as it includes cushion for the tendon itself.|
|3. For the first two weeks, wear a walking boot to reduce tension on the tendon. Walking boots dramatically reduce tension on the tendon. The Ossur Air Walker allows you to pump air into the walker to make it more secure. The Tall Ossur Air Walker works better because it more effectively reduces tension of the Achilles tendon, but those under 5’4” may be more comfortable in the Short Ossur Air Walker.|
|4. Use heel lifts in your shoes to reduce tension on the tendon. Use the lifts in both shoes even if only one tendon hurts. You want the lift the same on both sides to avoid knee or hip pain. We use these adjustable heel cups.|
|5. Use an arch support in your shoes. By stopping the heel from rolling in as much, arch supports decrease tension on the Achilles. A very stable arch support is necessary and we recommend the Powerstep Medical Grade Orthotic, It has a firm arch that is far superior to most other OTC supports. These are available from our website and from our offices in Davison and Lapeer but they are not available from the pharmacy or local retail stores. Only a custom orthotic is likely to work better. Many insurance plans will cover a custom orthotic, but insurance plans do not cover inserts out of a box.|
|6. Ice the tendon 3 times per day, 10 minutes each session. You can use an ice bag or an ActiveWrap as it wraps in place and you can walk around while icing. Unlike typical all-purpose ice packs, this Wrap is specifically designed for the unique curvatures of foot and ankle. While many ice packs freeze solid, Active Wrap packs stay soft and flexible when cold so they mold comfortably in place.|
|7. Use Biofreeze Gel to reduce pain at times you cannot ice.|
|8. Stretch your Achilles tendon once per day. This ProStretch improves the quality of the stretch.|
|9. Use a stable walking shoe with a firm-heel. You can find shoes on our recommended shoe list. The stability prevents the heel from rolling in (pronating). When that occurs, the arch flattens and the bones on top of the foot are compressed together. One of our favorites is the Orthofeet Shoes for Women and Orthofeet Shoes for Men.|
|10. Use a “U” shaped felt pad to help reduce pressure of the boney prominence/enlargement. Apply to foot or shoe. We recommend Dr. Jills Felt “U”- shaped Callus Pads.|
Start your treatment right away with these Achilles tendonitis self-treatment options listed above. The items you order from our website will arrive in just a couple of days and they are far superior to products available in retail stores.
Regardless, see your podiatrist right away before the tendon is permanently damaged. If you are in the Davison or Lapeer area, you can make an appointment to see us in our office. We may need to take an x-ray to see if a bone spur is causing the problem and possibly order an MRI to see the actual level of damage to the tendon. During your visit we will determine which treatment option is most appropriate for your specific issue causing the Achilles tendonitis. If you believe you ruptured your Achilles tendon (pain and decreased muscle strength) please let our receptionist know, as this requires attention immediately for a surgical repair. Call today for an evaluation in our convenient Davison or Lapeer office.