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What Causes Achilles Tendinitis?

Find out why runners and athletes are more prone to Achilles tendinitis-related heel pain. 

The Achilles tendon or calcaneal tendon is the strongest and thickest tendon in the body, and this band of tissue is responsible for connecting the calf muscle with the heel bone. This tendon is so strong that it has the ability to take on up to four times a person’s body weight while walking. Of course, if we aren’t kind to our feet then we may end up facing Achilles tendinitis and other tendon-related issues. In fact, Achilles tendinitis a common problem that our Dallas, TX, podiatrist Dr. Joseph Yeargain treats.

What is Achilles tendinitis? 

Every time you walk, jump or run your Achilles tendon plays an important role. Therefore, most cases of Achilles tendinitis occur from severe or repeated strain placed on the tendon. This is why this problem is more common in athletes, particularly runners.

What causes this common foot problem?

As we get older the Achilles tendon weakens, which means that older adults are more susceptible to Achilles tendinitis. If you are an athlete it’s important to wear the appropriate footwear for your chosen sport and to gradually build up the intensity or duration of a workout. If you suddenly increase the intensity of a run you may put yourself at risk for Achilles tendinitis. 

Risk factors that may increase your chances of developing Achilles tendinitis include, 

  • Gender (men are more at risk than women) 
  • Age 
  • Structural abnormalities in the foot (e.g. flat feet; extremely high arches) 
  • Being overweight or obese 
  • Inappropriate or worn shoes 
  • The type and intensity of athletic training 
  • Certain medical conditions (e.g. high blood pressure) 
  • Certain medications such as antibiotics 

What are the warning signs and symptoms? 

Symptoms may start subtly at first, beginning with a slight ache in the back of the leg right above the heel bone. If you continue to run or train on the foot you can expect the pain to get worse. You may notice intense pain occurring right after running, playing sports or climbing stairs. 

Along with heel pain, you may also notice swelling, tenderness and stiffness that are worse in the morning or after bouts of inactivity. 

When should I see a doctor? 

Wondering if your symptoms could be due to Achilles tendinitis? Does it warrant making a trip to visit our podiatrist here in Dallas? If symptoms are mild you may be able to treat the problem on your own through rest, and pain management. However, if symptoms are severe or don’t respond to at-home care after five days then it’s time to seek medical attention. 

If you are dealing with heel pain or other problems that you think may be related to the Achilles tendon then turn to our podiatrist at Yeargain Foot & Ankle in Dallas for immediate care. To schedule an appointment call (214) 824-3851.

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