Achilles Tendon Pain and Treatment
The Strongest Tendon in the Body: Anatomy and Importance
The calf muscle’s three parts join in the lower leg to form the Achilles tendon, which is half an inch to one inch long. Your Achilles tendon is made up of tissue that runs the back of your leg, connecting your heel to your calf. It is essential for activity, from running and walking or simply stretching. As such, it must withstand tension and strain from these activities.
Athletes are often affected by pain in the Achilles tendons or achillodynia. The tendons in and around the heel are an infamous weak spot for runners. However, anyone can be affected by an injury to the Achilles tendon.
What Is Achillodynia?
Achillodynia is acute pain due to inflammation of the Achilles tendon and the lubricating tissues surrounding the tendon. The clinical picture ranges from irritation to inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Sometimes the tendon or bursa can even rupture.
An Achilles Tendon Rupture (Tear)
The Achilles tendon transmits the power of the calf muscles to the foot and plays a very important part in rolling over the foot. A force equal to eight times your own bodyweight acts on the tendon when you run. Symptoms occur most often when the tendon is overworked or generally weak. Sports injuries are the most common cause of ruptures of the Achilles tendon.
The symptoms of a tear of the Achilles tendon can be:
- For the patient, it feels like something has snapped or like a sharp blow to the leg. This is accompanied by a loss of strength and the inability to extend the foot.
- Walking on tiptoes is no longer possible.
- A gap or depression can typically be felt in the tendon and a reflex can no longer be produced.
How can symptoms in the Achilles tendon be treated?
To heal the tendon quickly, it is important to relieve strain. It can be helpful to wear an Achilles tendon support to relieve tension on the tendon.
The Achilles tendon support Achimed® from medi is a support used to treat achillodynia. The supportive fabric and the silicone pad massage the tendon and help reduce swelling. The Achimed Achilles tendon support is put on like a sock. Two separate heel wedges correct the position of the foot and relieve the Achilles tendon.
Therapy and Recovery Time After an Achilles Operation
A tendoplasty is performed if the tendon shows severe damage due to wear and tear. The Achilles tendon usually remains shortened and the transmission of power to the foot cannot be restored fully.
After the operation, the leg must be immobilized for about four to six weeks with the foot in a tiptoe position. This is followed by physiotherapy to stretch the tendon slowly again. In many cases, a low heel lift is added for temporary relief of the Achilles tendon.