Achilles Tendonitis causes inflammation and degeneration of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is the large tendon located in the back of the leg that inserts into the heel. The pain caused by Achilles tendonitis can develop gradually without a history of trauma. The pain can be a shooting pain, burning pain, or even an extremely piercing pain. Achilles tendonitis should not be left untreated due to the danger that the tendon can become weak and ruptured.
Individuals who suffer from Achilles tendonitis often complain that their first steps out of bed in the morning are extremely painful. Another common complaint is pain after steps are taken after long periods of sitting. This pain often lessens with activity.
Treatment: Athletes, particularly runners, should incorporate a thorough stretching program to properly warm-up the muscles. They should decrease the distance of their walk or run, apply ice after the activity and avoid any uphill climbs. Athletes should use an orthotic device, heel cup, or heel cradle for extra support.
A heel cup or heel cradle elevates the heel to reduce stress and pressure on the Achilles tendon. The device should be made with light-weight, shock absorbing materials. An orthotic can be used to control over-pronation, support the longitudinal arch, and reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.