The Achilles tendon is one of the largest tendons in the entire body. The Achilles attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone (calcaneus), and is critically important in standing, walking, running, and jumping. While the tendon is relatively resilient, overuse can contribute to inflammation and pain; known as Achilles tendonitis.
Pain can be felt in the calf, the Achilles tendon itself, or lower down in the calcaneus/heel bone.
Poor biomechanics, increased load to the tissue beyond what it can handle, rapid increase in activity, lack of flexibility, poorly structured or ill-fitting footwear, and/or leg length discrepancy, can all contribute to the development of Achilles tendonitis. Determining the root cause of the problem will have faster recovery results - for example, if biomechanics are the issue, rehab and therapy will be very beneficial, but as soon as the individual starts walking again, the tendonitis can rapidly return. It is therefore important and valuable to understand what caused it to occur in the first place so that the root issue can be addressed instead of simply treating symptoms.
A program encompassing a comprehensive stretching regimen, myofascial therapy, registered massage therapy, cryotherapy (ice) and eccentric strengthening can all be extremely beneficial. If biomechanics are a contributing factor, the underlying problem must be addressed prior to rehab, or the results will be poorly received. Electrotherapeutic modalities can also help expedite the healing process. Custom orthotics can be used to unload the tendon and a night splint can help to hold the foot in a stretched position overnight to heal in an uncompromised position.
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