Achilles tendinitis is an injury that occurs due to overuse of the Achilles tendon. A common injury for runners, Achilles tendinitis also tends to appear in middle-aged people who play sports such as basketball and tennis which involve a lot of lateral movements. If you suspect that you have this condition, you can get it diagnosed at an imaging center. Then, your doctor may recommend one of the following treatments.
If you have Achilles tendinitis, physical therapy can help a lot. When you work with a physical therapist, they guide you through a number of exercises that are designed to promote healing but also to strengthen the muscles around your Achilles tendon. One exercise that they may recommend involves raising weight and then letting it down very slowly.
Called eccentric strengthening, this exercise can take a number of different forms. The key similarity between all these actions is that they involve very controlled motions. In contrast, when many people work out by themselves, they quickly release lifted weight, which does not have the same therapeutic and strengthening effect on their muscles.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend an orthotic device. Typically, this device consists of a wedge that you insert into your shoe, and that raises your heel slightly. When your heel is elevated like that, it releases the pressure that is on your Achilles tendon, and that provides some relief from the pain. By giving your tendon a break, you also help to speed up the healing process. When your doctor looks at the diagnostic imaging of your foot, they can let you know if an orthotic device is likely to work well in your situation.
Rest and Home Remedies
On top of physical therapy or orthotic devices, you should rest your body, and you may want to try some home remedies as well. By resting, you give your Achilles tendon the relief it needs. To ensure you don’t use that foot, you may want to consider wearing a boot or using crutches to reduce pressure on your tendon.
Additionally, you may want to try ice or an over-the-counter pain medication to help with the pain. Some people turn to compression bandages or socks. Bandages tend to be more effective because you can really focus on the area around your Achilles tendon, and that helps to reduce unnecessary movement in that area. Finally, you may want to elevate your foot when sleeping or relaxing. That also helps to reduce swelling.
Surgery for Achilles Tendinitis
Most doctors recommend one of the relatively non-invasive treatments listed above at first, but if those treatments don’t work after a few months, your doctor may recommend surgery. The surgery repairs the Achilles tendon. Keep in mind there is likely to be some down time after the procedure.
The first step is diagnosing your Achilles tendinitis. To set up an MRI or another type of diagnostic imaging, contact us at American Health Imaging today. If you are a health care provider, we can also help you set up an appointment for your patient.