Achilles Tendinitis: What it is and Tips to Kick it to the Curb

Sep 8, 2021

If you are suffering from heel pain, you are not alone. Unfortunately, heel pain is an extremely common issue. Luckily, we know all about heel pain causes and treatments so if you’re currently experiencing heel pain, please read on.

What are the causes of heel pain? 

Heel pain can be caused by many different conditions including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, Sever’s disease, bursitis, heel spurs, and calcaneal fractures. Of these, Achilles tendinitis is the second most common cause of adult heel pain, right behind plantar fasciitis.

What is Achilles tendinitis?

You may have heard of the warrior Achilles, one of the great heroes of Greek mythology. However, when we’re talking about Achilles, we’re usually referring to the Achilles tendon, a strong fibrous cord that connects the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone. Of the tendons in your musculoskeletal system, your Achilles Tendons are the biggest and strongest. While most tendons have fibers that line up like a broom, these are wrapped around like a heavy-duty cable. 

Achilles tendinitis is basically an injury to your Achilles tendon typically caused by overuse. With Achilles tendinitis, the Achilles tendon becomes swollen and painful. There are two distinct types of this common sports injury: Non-insertional Achilles tendinitis and Insertional Achilles tendinitis. 

  1. Non-insertional Achilles tendinitis. This type presents pain in the tendon and usually affects younger, more active patients. With this type, someone may feel sore or stiff in the morning and get worse throughout the day. 
  2. Insertional Achilles tendinitis. This type presents pain at the back of the heel bone and can affect just about anyone. Morning stiffness and increased soreness are also experienced throughout the day, however, patients are more likely to have tight calf muscles and may develop a bone spur where the Achilles tendon inserts into the bone. 

Thankfully, it is possible to overcome Achilles tendinitis. USA gymnast MyKayla Skinner vaulted her way to a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics after overcoming Achilles tendinitis. Never leave it left untreated – if you experience pain in your Achilles, please contact us to make an appointment.

Tips for treating Achilles tendinitis at home:

​​​​Whether you’re trying to enjoy the final days of summer or getting ready for the back-to-school season, Achilles tendinitis can get in the way. Thankfully this injury is treatable at home if it’s a mild case or caught early. Here are a few self-care tips for treating Achilles tendinitis:

  1. Relax and elevate! Sit down, relax, and elevate your leg. An overused Achilles is likely inflamed, swollen, and in need of some quality R & R. 
  2. Ice, ice, baby! Ice is great for inflammation so as you rest, take a few minutes here and there for some ice to help the swelling go down.
  3. Compression. Compression is also a helpful method for reducing pain and swelling. Throw on a compression sleeve; it’s designed to help with swelling and will give your Achilles some support.  

​​​​​​​If your injury is more severe, you are in constant pain, or you just want to get a professional treatment plan, give us a call. We’ll provide you with a careful diagnosis and custom treatment plan to get you back on your feet.

9 Ways to Avoid Heel Pain Cover Photo

Download Our Free Guide to Avoiding Heel Pain

In our guide, you’ll discover incredibly useful heel pain prevention tips including:

  • Stretches
  • Footwear
  • Effectiveness of Cross-Training
  • The Potential of Orthotics