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What Causes Achilles Tendonitis and How Is It Treated?

Running, jumping, and intense physical activity is generally great for your overall health, but it can lead to a painful injury. Achilles tendonitis happens when the thick band of tissue that attaches your calf muscle to the heel bone in your foot becomes inflamed. 

Dr. Richard Nichols and Dr. Joseph Harvey and their team at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists have treated thousands of cases of Achilles tendonitis during their careers. There are many different treatments available, including the cutting-edge, highly effective implantable neurostimulator pulse generator

Your amazing Achilles tendon

Take a moment to think about how hard this band of tissue works. It allows you to walk, climb stairs, flex your foot, run, jump, and stand on your tiptoes. It’s the biggest tendon in your body and performs a job to match its size! 

Even under normal circumstances, your Achilles tendon withstands a lot of use and even abuse. But, if you’re a runner, a dancer, you participate in sports, or are otherwise quite active, you’re at a greater risk of developing Achilles tendonitis. 

Achilles tendonitis

Tendonitis means inflamed tendon. Usually when we talk about inflammation, we’re talking about how to reduce it, but it’s actually part of your body’s healing response. When your Achilles tendon is inflamed, it’s likely injured. 

There are two types of Achilles tendonitis: noninsertional and insertional. The difference has to do with which part of your Achilles tendon is injured. 

Insertional Achilles tendonitis

If your tendon is inflamed where it attaches to your heel, you have insertional Achilles tendonitis. It can lead to bone spurs. If you’re a runner and you have been for a long time, you’re at a greater risk of insertional Achilles tendonitis, although anyone can develop the painful condition. 

Noninsertional Achilles tendonitis

This type of tendonitis affects the middle of your Achilles tendon. You develop small tears in the fiber of the tendon, which causes it to swell and thicken. Usually people who have noninsertional Achilles tendonitis are younger and very active. 

Treating Achilles tendonitis

You should know from the outset that it can take a long time for your Achilles tendon to completely heal. One of the reasons you should consider coming to Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists is that we can help you know when you can safely return to activity. Also, the earlier you get treatment, the less time it’ll take for you to heal. 

Home treatments

Rest and ice are two of the first things you should do. Find low-impact activities to maintain your fitness, and use an ice pack throughout the day to ease the pain. You may also want to take over-the-counter pain relievers. 

Physical therapy

Dr. Nichols and Dr. Harvey often suggest specific exercises to help you strengthen your Achilles tendon as it heals. Since Achilles tendonitis is frequently associated with tight calves, you may need to work on gaining flexibility as well. 

Neurostimulation

We also offer the wearable neurostimulator to help ease the pain and heal your Achilles tendon. This treatment involves wearing a small device attached to your ear with four electrodes. The electrodes send out impulses that interrupt the pain signals running along your nerves. 

The wearable neurostimulator is an excellent way to relieve pain without relying on pharmaceuticals. With less pain, you can focus on getting stronger, improving your flexibility, and healing. 

Surgical intervention

In some cases, Achilles tendonitis requires surgical intervention. If your tendon is completely torn, or ruptured, surgery may be the best way to repair it. Or, if other treatments have failed over several months, surgery may be a better approach. 

If you’re experiencing pain in your heel, or higher up your Achilles tendon, book an appointment at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists today. Remember, earlier treatment results in better outcomes. 

We have two locations for your convenience. You can schedule by calling the one that works best for you, or you can request an appointment online. 

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