The achilles tendon

Tendinitis of the Achilles tendon can cause extreme discomfort, but there are non-surgical remedies.

As with other types of tendinitis, Achilles Tendinitis is basically tendinitis of the Achilles tendon, meaning an inflammation of the tendon that can cause extreme discomfort and pain for individuals. The location of the Achilles tendon on the foot makes it very difficult for people suffering from this condition to maintain a normal life without treating the problem in one way or another. While there are various invasive procedures that could possibly fix the problem, the Achilles’ tendon is a somewhat high-risk area for an operation, so alternative remedies are often suggested.

Depending on your level of pain or severity of your Achilles Tendinitis, some of the following remedies will be more helpful than others. Most importantly, remember that your body knows itself, so don’t push yourself while trying to overcome or relieve yourself of the pain from this unfortunate condition.

Although this affliction usually affects athletes training in unsuitable or challenging conditions, such as long-distance runners, it can affect anyone with a relatively active lifestyle, particularly people who spend a lot of their time on their feet. Footwear can also be a major contributor to the issue, especially if you are wearing improper footwear for certain strenuous activities, thereby putting more stress and strain on your Achilles tendon.

Physiotherapy can treat an injured Achilles tendon, by massaging the area around the ankle, applying pressure on the tendon itself and by manipulation of the calf muscle. Dry needling can be used, as can electro stimulation to increase blood flow and help oxygenate the injury, thus promoting natural healing.

This may seem somewhat basic, but the R.I.C.E. method is probably the most effective and widely recognized way to ease the discomfort and pain of Achilles Tendinitis. Used in conjunction with physiotherapy or Osteopathy treatments the R.I.C.E. method will benefit healing immensely.

The R stands for rest, because the constant strain on that area of your foot is what got you into this mess in the first place. Be conscious of the time you spend on your feet, and try to put less stress and strain on that tendon if possible.

The I stands for ice. Icing your Achilles tendon regularly, with the ice wrapped in a towel so it gradually lowers the temperature, rather than shocking the tendons and muscles with extreme cold, can help to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief on particularly bad days.

The C stands for compression, because applying pressure and support to that area, particularly while sleeping or doing complicated activities that require twisting and unusual physical movements, is essential. You can stabilize the tendon and provide support to prevent any further strain. Compression socks and appropriate footwear can help in this step, together with kinetic taping from your Physiotherapist.

The E stands for elevation, as adding a bit of height helps blood flow to that area, but also lets gravity work for you. Instead of making the blood vessels and capillaries in that area work harder, elevate your aching tendon and feel almost immediate relief.

Stretching: Warming up your body, even before a normal day of commuting and work, is essential to keep those muscles healthy and active, which will prevent unexpected strains or stresses on delicate parts of the body, like the Achilles tendon. A quick five or ten-minute stretching session once or twice a day can do wonders for your flexibility and protect you from a wide range of health concerns.

Proper Shoes: Although mentioned earlier, footwear is one of the most essential ways to prevent the development of Achilles Tendinitis. Particularly for athletes and individuals who rely on their feet, calves, and ankles for much of their activity (imagine rock climbers or bike messengers), having appropriate, supportive footwear is essential. That constant strain on the Achilles tendon while wearing improper shoes can have devastating effects.

Lifestyle Change: Smoking is a major contributor to poor circulation, so as a patient suffering from Achilles Tendinitis, quitting smoking can significantly improve your chances of healing and avoiding more serious conditions. Quitting smoking can be hard, but when it comes to eliminating something that possibly hurts with every step you take, maybe it’s time to think about giving up the habit.