The Facts About Curing Athletes' Achilles Tendonitis

 By: Anne K West, Ph.D.
Exactlywhat is Achilles Tendonitis?

Inflammation of the Achilles tendon is referred to as Achilles Tendonitis. The Achilles tendon is a large tendon connecting two major calf muscles, gastrocnemius and soleus, to the back of the heel bone. Achilles Tendonitis is one of many exercise-related injuries that results from repeated strain of any type (such as excessive exercising and jumping).

Signs of Tendonitis:

  • Discomfort anywhere along the back of the tendon

  • Swelling of the tendon

  • Limited ankle flexibility


Triggers of Tendonitis:

Out of numerous tendons dispersed throughout the human body, there are few particular tendons that have weak blood supply. These tendon areaswhere blood supply is low are termed as"watershed zones". These watershed zones are supplied with comparatively lesser volume of oxygen and nutrients, it makes these tendons prone to tissue deterioration and poor mending response. Sometimes, the tendon does not have a seamless path to glide which results in inflammation. Other well known causes of tendonitis are repetitive, minor impact on the affected area, or a unexpected severe injury. As it turns out, persons aged between 40-60 years are known to be more prone to Achilles Tendonitis. Additional known causes of Tendonitis are:

  • Improper posture at work or home

  • Taking part in sports

  • Body exertion or reduced recuperation time between physical activities

  • Change of footwear or abnormal floor surface

  • Poorstretching or conditioning just before exercise

  • An irregular or dislocated bone or joint that stresses soft-tissue structures

  • Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, thyroid disorders, or unusual medication reactions


Forms of Tendonitis:

Tendonitis can occur in almost any area of the body where a tendon connects a bone to a muscle. Some of the most typical types of Tendonitis are:

Wrist Tendonitis: One of the most common problems, wrist tendonitis develops due to inflammation of the tendon sheath. Wrist Tendonitis usually causes soreness and swelling around the wrist. Wrist tendonitis rarely calls for surgery as an intervention.

Achilles Tendonitis: Achilles tendonitis leads to pain and irritation in the back of heel. If it is diagnosed promptly, one can avoid serious difficulties such as Achilles tendon rupture.

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis: Posterior tibial tendonitis usually afflicts people with symptoms on the inner side of the ankle. If Posterior Tibial Tendonitis is left uncared for, it may lead to a flat foot.

Patellar (Kneecap) Tendonitis: Patellar Tendonitis (also known as Jumper's Knee) is precipitated by the swelling of the patellar tendon. Rest and anti-inflammatory medication are commontreatments for Patellar tendonitis.

Rotator Cuff Tendonitis: Rotator cuff tendonitis is caused by the swelling of a particular area within the shoulder joint.

Top 7 strategies for athletes to treat Achilles injuries:

Though tendonitis can be a severe problem, you can certainly treat and protect against it from persisting. Here are the top seven ways in which athletes can handle tendonitis:

1. Emphasize Rest: The first and most important step to treat tendonitis is to stop activities that can worsen it. Avoid working out for a few days. This will help significantly with the healing of the inflamed tendon. You may also try alternative exercise activities, such as swimming.

2. Apply Ice Pack: One of the best therapies of tendonitis is to apply an ice-pack on the inflamed area. The cold temperature will control the inflammation and swelling of the affected area. Application of an ice-pack will help restore the tendon more quickly.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Tendonitis can be taken care of by taking non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Naprosyn, Celebrex. These medications will decrease the pain and swelling in the affected area.

4. Cortisone Injections:When tendonitis symptoms continue for a long period of time,some may seek cortisone injections. Injected directly into the inflamed area, cortisone injections help treating tendonitis that can't seem to heal withmany medicaltherapies.

5. Wear a heel pad: By wearing heel pad, you can elevate the heel and take some strain off the Achilles tendon. This is a provisional measure while the Achilles tendon is recovering.

6. Running Shoes: Make sure you have the proper running shoes for your foot type and the sport in which you are participating.

7. Seek the advice of a sportsinjury professional: Take advice from someone whose profession deals with proper training, orsports injuries specifically, and is experienced with healingand rehabilitation.
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