Prevention Of Achilles Tendinopathy
There are several things you can do to help prevent Achilles tendinopathy.
- Make sure you wear appropriate and well-fitting shoes for running and other activities you do. It can help if theyre well-padded.
- Whether youre active through work or sports, make sure you use the right equipment and techniques.
- Limit repetitive motions that keep putting stress on your tendon.
- Gradually build up new activities slowly. You should increase the intensity and duration of your activities slowly over time.
- Warm up well before you start exercising and stretch your calf muscle afterwards.
- If you have underlying health problems that put you more at risk, make sure theyre being treated properly.
- Aim to maintain a healthy weight because being overweight can increase your risk of Achilles tendinopathy.
Wearing orthotics in each shoe may help if theres a problem with the shape of your foot or how you walk. You can buy orthotics from pharmacies or other retailers or they can be custom-made for you by a podiatrist. Ask your physiotherapist or podiatrist for advice.
How Can You Speed Up The Recovery From Achilles Tendonitis
Luckily, you do not have to lay on the bed waiting for a full recovery. There are a few steps that you can take to reduce the time it will take to recover from achilles tendonitis. What are those steps? Glad you asked. Here you are:
- Stretch your achilles tendon gently for 20-30 seconds at a time and 3-4 times a day.
- Use ice packs around your heels for 10-15 minutes at a time every couple of hours.
- If leg braces are not needed, you may wrap a tight athletic band around the heels to support the tendon.
- While laying on the bed, try raising your leg up in the air and keeping it that way for a few seconds in a stretch. It will help with pain and swelling. You may also use support to keep your leg raised.
- Besides strengthening the tendon, perform some exercises to strengthen your calf muscles as well. The stronger the calf muscles, the lesser strain will be put on the tendon.
- Once you are back on your leg, use the right shoes for achilles tendonitis. The shoes will cushion and support your heels the right amount.
Preventing Tendonitis And Tendonosis
The best way to avoid the discomfort and inconvenience of tendonitis and tendonosis is to not develop it in the first place. Eccentric training may be effective for preventing tendonitis as well as for treatment. But, its also important to avoid repetitive activities that place force on a tendon. Runners are susceptible to Achilles tendonitis because they do the same movements over and over. Cross-training can help since youre doing a variety of exercises rather than the same repetitive movements. Always wear supportive shoes that fit properly when doing any kind of exercise, especially running. If you experience discomfort, dont exercise through it. Stop and evaluate. Make sure your training is balanced too. When you train one muscle, work the opposing one too for balance.
Hopefully, youll never get tendonitis or tendonosis! If you do, you now know why it takes so long to heal.
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Why Does Eccentric Exercise Reduce Pain In Tendinopathy
Although there are several possible explanations for the effectiveness of eccentric exercise, none have been fully investigated. Eccentric exercise alters tendon pathology in both the short term and the long term. In the short term, a single bout of exercise increases tendon volume and signal intensity on MRI.43 A programme of eccentric exercise affects type I collagen production and, in the absence of ongoing insult, may increase the tendon volume over the longer term.44 As such, an eccentric exercise programme may increase tensile strength in the tendon over time. The effect of repetitive stretching, with a lengthening of the muscletendon unit, may also have an impact on capacity of the musculotendinous unit to effectively absorb load.
How Are Achilles Tendon Injuries Treated
Treatment depends on how badly injured your tendon is. It may include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
- Specific exercises to strengthen your calf muscles
- Physical therapy
- Eccentric strength training. This type of exercise helps strengthen your calf muscles to take pressure off your tendon
- Low-impact activities, such as swimming
- Heel lifts in shoes, orthotic shoes, cast, splint, or a walking boot
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy. This treatment uses high-energy shockwave impulses to help stimulate the healing process in damaged tendon tissue. This treatment isnt often used. However, your healthcare provider may recommend it to see whether you can improve without surgery
If these treatments don’t work or if the injury is severe or complete, surgery may be considered. The type of surgery depends on the location and amount of damage to the tendon. It can also depend on other things, such as the severity of the tendonitis. Some of the surgical procedures used include:
- Surgery to lengthen your calf muscles
- Surgery to remove damaged tendon tissue or bone spurs and repair the tendon
- Surgery to remove your damaged tendon tissue, fix the remaining tendon, and give it extra strength by moving another tendon to the heel bone
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What Is The Recovery Time In Case Of Achilles Tendon Injury
A strain or overuse of the Achilles tendon may cause injury, inflammation or rupture in the Achilles tendon. The recovery time for an Achilles tendon injury usually ranges from six weeks to six months. While most people recover within this timeframe, depending on the severity of the injury and the treatment, it can take more than a year for full recovery.
Causes Of Achilles Tendinopathy
Achilles tendinopathy is usually caused by overuse this means repeated stress on your Achilles tendon over time. This can cause changes to the structure of your tendon and sometimes tiny tears, making it weaker.
Any sports or activities that put stress on your Achilles tendon can lead to Achilles tendinopathy. This includes running and anything that involves jumping for example, dancing, gymnastics, squash and tennis. You may also be more likely to damage your Achilles tendon if you:
- use badly designed equipment including wearing the wrong footwear
- have a poor technique or havent trained properly for the activity youre doing
- suddenly increase how much exercise you do or the intensity of your exercise
- train on hard or sloping surfaces
For advice on how you can overcome these factors, see our section on prevention below.
Other things that can make you more likely to develop Achilles tendinopathy include:
- getting older because your Achilles tendon becomes less flexible and less able to cope with stress
- having a family history of the condition
- if youve injured your tendon or the muscles around it in the past
- having certain long-term health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol or thyroid problems
- having certain problems affecting your feet or legs
- being very overweight or obese
- taking certain medications for example, antibiotics belonging to the quinolone group corticosteroids or statins
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What Is The Treatment For A Ruptured Achilles Tendon
This condition should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible because prompt treatment probably improves recovery. You may need to be referred urgently to see a doctor in an orthopaedic department or A& E department. Meanwhile, if a torn Achilles tendon is suspected, you should not put any weight on that foot, so do not walk on it at all.
What Happens If Initial Treatment Fails
For most people, the symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy usually clear within 3-6 months of starting conservative treatment, as described above. In general, the earlier the problem is recognised and treatment started, the better the outcome. If your symptoms have not improved after 3-6 months, your doctor may suggest that they refer you to a specialist orthopaedic surgeon or sports medicine doctor. However, this timescale may change depending on your symptoms, your sporting activities, etc.
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Why Tendon Overuse Takes A Long Time To Heal
What is this entity called a tendon and why do we need them? A tendon is a thick band of connective tissue that connects muscle to bone. The tendon transmits force from muscle to bone. The fibers of a tendon have to be strong to hold up to force and they are. Tendons have the highest tensile strength of all the soft tissues in the body. They also store energy and release that energy when a muscle contracts.
Unfortunately, tendons dont have a good blood supply. Instead, they get nourishment from the synovial fluid inside the joint. This lack of blood supply makes healing an injured tendon slower.
Whats happening at the microscopic level when you sustain a tendon injury? If you change your exercise routine in a way that places more stress on a tendon, the cells within that tendon have to work harder to repair and generate new tendon tissue. For efficient repair, cells need a good blood supply and they dont have it. Thats why tendon overuse injuries are so common and why they take so long to heal. Healing will often take longer in older people and those with other health conditions like diabetes, as these factors further impact blood flow to the tendon.
How Can I Prevent Achilles Tendon Injuries
These steps can help prevent injury to your Achilles tendon:
- Warm up before exercising, playing sports, or other repetitive movements.
- Increase activity slowly, rather than all at once.
- Wear the correct shoes for your activities.
- Don’t exercise on uneven surfaces.
- Stop activities that cause pain.
- Be aware of the risks of fluoroquinolone and exercise with caution if youre taking this medicine.
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How Is An Achilles Tendon Rupture Diagnosed
The Achilles tendon tear diagnosis is usually made on the basis of symptoms, the history of the injury and a doctor’s examination.
The doctor may look at your walking and observe whether you can stand on tiptoe. They may test the tendon using a method called Thompson’s test . In this test, you will be asked to lie face down on the examination bench and to bend your knee. The doctor will gently squeeze the calf muscles at the back of your leg and observe how the ankle moves. If the Achilles tendon is OK, the calf squeeze will make the foot point away from the leg . This is quite an accurate test for Achilles tendon rupture.
Note: an Achilles tendon rupture is sometimes difficult to diagnose and can be missed on first assessment. It is important for doctors and patients to be aware of this and to look carefully for an Achilles tendon rupture if it is suspected.
Eat These 9 Nutrients To Heal Achilles Tendonitis Fast
- Evidence Based:
Achilles tendonitis isnt just a pain it can get in the way of your training, your life, and mental well-being. So I wanted to make your life easier by bringing together all the nutrition research on how to heal Achilles tendonitis in one place this article.
I started getting Achilles tendonitis after taking antibiotics which trigger tendonitis as a known side effect.
Luckily some foods help build muscle and collagen the stuff tendons are made from. These foods can prevent tendonitis and improve healing.
So, how to heal Achilles tendonitis?
Heres my carefully curated list of nutrients to heal Achilles tendonitis naturally.
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Does Wrapping Your Ankle Help Achilles Tendonitis
To treat Achilles tendonitis, use RICE. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest the leg, apply ice for about 15 minutes after exercise, reduce movement of the tendon by wrapping it with an ace bandage, and raise the foot above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.
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Exercises For Achilles Tendinitis
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis causes pain above the heel and in the lower leg, especially after running or doing other physical activities. The pain often gets worse when exercising and better with rest.
People with Achilles tendonitis also might have:
- stiffness and soreness in the heel, especially in the morning
- swelling or hard knots in the Achilles tendon
- a creaking or crackling sound when moving the ankle or pressing on the Achilles tendon
- weakness in the affected leg
- pain when pointing the foot
- pain with pressure from shoes
What Are The Symptoms Of Achilles Tendon Rupture
You may notice the symptoms come on suddenly during a sporting activity or injury. You might hear a snap or feel a sudden sharp pain when the tendon is torn . The sharp pain usually settles quickly, although there may be some aching at the back of the lower leg. After the injury, the usual symptoms are:
- A flat-footed type of walk. You can walk and bear weight but cannot push off the ground properly on the side where the tendon is ruptured.
- Inability to stand on tiptoe.
- If the tendon is completely torn, you may feel a gap just above the back of the heel. However, if there is bruising then the swelling may disguise the gap.
If you suspect an Achilles tendon rupture, it is best to see a doctor urgently because the tendon heals better if treated sooner rather than later.
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Degrees Of Severity Of Achilles Tendinopathy
Achilles tendinopathy is graded according to how severe it is:
- mild pain in the Achilles tendon during a particular activity or shortly after.
- moderate the Achilles tendon may swell. In some cases, a hard lump may form in the tendon
- severe any type of activity that involves weight-bearing causes pain of the Achilles tendon. Very occasionally, the Achilles tendon may rupture . When an Achilles tendon ruptures, it is said to feel like a hard whack on the heel.
What Are The Treatment Options
There are two options for treatment. One option is an operation to repair the tendon. The surgeon sews together the torn ends of the Achilles tendon, and perhaps may also use another tendon or a tendon graft to help with the repair. A plaster cast or brace is needed after the operation.
The other option is to allow time for the tendon to heal naturally, resting it in a brace or plaster cast. This is called conservative treatment. If the tendon does not heal on its own, a surgical repair can then be done later.
Both options will involve having a plaster cast or a brace for about eight weeks, to protect the tendon while it heals. The plaster cast or the brace is positioned so that the foot is pointing slightly downwards, which takes the strain off the tendon.
Traditionally, crutches were used to keep weight off the leg during the first few weeks of treatment. Now there is a trend towards using the leg normally early on . This involves fitting a plaster cast or a brace which you can walk on. It is more convenient because you do not need to use crutches.
Physiotherapy will usually be provided as well.
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How Long Does It Take To Heal Achilles Tendonitis
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How To Heal Achilles Tendonitis: Nutrients To Include In Your Diet
Tendons take along time to heal.
Two things make Achilles tendonitis worse:
If you dont have enough oxygen, you die. If your cells dont have enough oxygen, they die too.
2. Oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is your immune system accidentally damaging your body. Oxidative stress increases with inflammation and overexercising, and it kills tendon cells.
The following foods and nutrients help prevent hypoxia and oxidative stress in your tendons, and promote recovery.
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How Long Does Achilles Tendinitis Take To Heal
Recovery times for Achilles tendinitis vary depending upon the severity of the injury. It is possible for this recovery time to take up to several months. If a cast is needed to immobilize the injury, the cast may be needed for up to 10 weeks, and that doesnt include further recovery once the cast is off.
What needing full recovery time does not mean, however, is having to forgo activity entirely during this period. Certain low-impact activities can still give your body a workout without aggravating your Achilles tendon, such as swimming or cycling. What is crucial is that a return to full activity is not started until we have recommended doing so, since pushing the tendon too hard after injury can cause even worse or chronic problems down the line.
At Martin Foot and Ankle, our foot doctors know all about sports injuries and proper rehabilitation. Contact our offices in York, Hanover, Lancaster and Lititz, PA to set up an appointment with a podiatrist by calling 757-3537.