The Achilles Tendon is the tissue band that connects the calf muscles- which are found in the back of the lower leg to the heel bone. This tendon can get damaged when overused.
The pain that you experience from damage in this area is called Achilles Tendonitis. Achilles tendinitis is a painful condition that occurs when the tendon connecting the heel to the back of the leg becomes inflamed.
Are you experiencing Achilles tendonitis? In this article, learn more about what causes it, its symptoms as well as some possible treatments.
Table of Contents
A. What are the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis?
B. What are the common causes of Achilles tendinitis?
C. Who is prone to Achilles tendinitis?
D. How do you treat Achilles tendinitis?
E. How do I apply kinesiology tape to treat Achilles tendonitis?
F. How do I prevent Achilles tendonitis?
G. Buy Tape Geeks - Best Kinesiology Tape For Your Skin & Muscles
What are the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis?
If you suspect that you have Achilles Tendinitis there are some signs and symptoms to detect. These are:
- Pain on the inside of the ankle at the tendon attachment, swelling, warm to the touch, and redness.
- Pain that gets worse when you stand up or push off on your toes
- Decreased strength in your Achilles tendon, especially if it feels like there is a hole in the tendon where it should be attached.
- Stiffness before exercise or first thing in the morning, lasting about 20 minutes.
- You might hear or feel a snap during this time (this happens as scar tissue breaks down). It might also cause radiating pain down to the back of your heel).
Another way to tell if you have Achilles tendinitis is by checking for areas of tenderness directly over the inflamed area. If you press on this area of your tendon, you may feel pain.
What are the common causes of Achilles tendinitis?
There are many possible causes. Achilles tendinitis can be caused by too much exercise or repetitive activity that strains the tendon, for one. In most cases, however, people don't know the cause. It can happen because of overuse or age-related degeneration.
Other potential factors can include:
- Walking incorrectly
- Muscle weakness in surrounding muscles (such as Gluteus Maximus)
- Shoes that don't fit correctly or have worn-out heels
- Repeated exercise that strains the calf muscles
- Exercising without adequate warm-up
- Playing sports that require quick direction changes
- Weakening of Achilles tendon due to old age
- Flat feet and arch problems
- Sometimes pregnancy
Who is prone to Achilles tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis is most common in people who participate in sports that require repetitive stress on the Achilles tendon, such as distance running or cycling. It can also be caused by taking up new types of physical activity too quickly.
Achilles tendinitis is often more likely to occur if you're older than 35 years old, if you have Achilles tendinopathy, or if you're overweight. If any part of the Achilles has ruptured, your risk for Achilles tenosynovitis increases. Treatment includes: Resting your legs for several days or weeks.
Additionally, Achilles tendinitis can be a common injury in physical activities or sports requiring a push off with the Achilles tendon such as running, jumping, and bounding.
Many factors can contribute to Achilles Tendinitis. It can include:
- Poor flexibility in calves
- Leg length discrepancies
- Overpronation of the foot (flat feet)
- Flattening/inward rolling of the foot when walking or running (pronation)
How do you treat Achilles tendinitis?
If you have Achilles tendinitis it is important to get the right treatment.
The first step is to rest and avoid doing anything that causes pain in the injured area for a few days. Applying kinesiology tape can provide relief from Achilles tendinitis by mitigating strain placed on the tendon during activity and also providing stimulation to muscles within the kinesiology tape's length-tension relationship.
Another way to relieve pressure on your Achilles tendon is by applying ice packs for 15 minutes at a time every 2 hours around the clock. Do not apply heat as this will make inflammation worse. Once the inflammation has been lessened, strengthening exercises are started along with calf stretching.
For performing strengthening exercises, stretch your Achilles tendon for about 5 minutes before exercising. After continuing with kinesiology taping and strengthening exercises the problem should gradually subside. If kinesiology taping does not work to relieve pain, you should see your doctor take care of it.
If kinesiology tape doesn't help alleviate Achilles tendinitis you should contact a physician or physical therapist for advice on what other treatment options are available.
How do I apply kinesiology tape to treat Achilles tendonitis?
If you’re new to taping, we highly suggest that you read some basics first. You can check out our article on tips for applying kinesiology tape as well as some frequently asked questions from beginners. And, to learn how to make different kinesiology tape cuts, you can learn here.
Done reading? Great! Now, we can start taping!
- Start by measuring and cutting your Y-strip that’s roughly two feet long. Next, create an I-strip.
- Anchor your Y-strip to the bottom of the heel. Then,apply 25-50% tension to the tails of the Y-strip and apply it on either side of the gastroc.
- Take your I-strip and apply 25% tension, Place it above the Achilles tendon.
- Make sure to always round your edges to avoid premature peeling. Rub in the tape for maximum adhesion.
How do I prevent Achilles tendonitis?
The best way to prevent Achilles Tendinitis is through stretching (before activity) and cross-training. Other tips to keep you healthy include wearing proper shoes that provide comfort and correct support; especially when performing any physical activities. So if you have Achilles Tendinitis, it is time to start reaping the benefits of kinesiology tape.
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Now that you know more about Achilles tendinitis, its causes, its symptoms, and its prevention, we hope that you are able to continue staying active without feeling any discomfort in your Achilles tendon.