Achilles tendon injuries are one of the most common overuse injuries in recreational sports. A very small percentage of these injuries are diagnosed and treated by doctors of
chiropractic. What is especially interesting is that a high percentage of these injuries are caused by a posterior calcaneus subluxation.
Tendinitis typically develops after abrupt changes in activity or training level, use of poorly fit or worn footwear, or training on uneven or dense running surfaces. Overuse prior to sufficient
training is generally the cause. This is due to forces 8-10 times the body weight acting on the tendon during physical activity. Achilles injuries range from inflammation to a breakdown in the
tendon. Pain is generally felt low on the back of the heel due to the low vascularity and susceptibility for inflammation. Pain higher on the Achilles is generally more muscular pain and less
tendonitis. If swollen spots or knots are found along the tendon, or if the tendon feels jagged, cease activity and seek professional medical care.
Achilles tendonitis and tendinopathy present as pain in the Achilles tendon, usually several centimeters above where it inserts on the heel. In some patients, pain and tendon damage are primarily at
the insertion to the heel bone. There may be swelling and/or thickening of the tendon. Bending at the ankle, walking, jumping, and running are often painful with this condition.
To diagnose the condition correctly, your doctor will ask you a few questions about the pain and swelling in your heel. You may be asked to stand on the balls of your feet while your doctor observes
your range of motion and flexibility. The doctor may also touch the area directly. This allows him to pinpoint where the pain and swelling is most severe.
If you have ongoing pain around your Achilles tendon, or the pain is severe, book an appointment with your family physician and ask for a referral to a Canadian Certified Pedorthist. Your Pedorthist
will conduct a full assessment of your feet and lower limbs and will evaluate how you run and walk. Based on this assessment, your Pedorthist may recommend a foot orthotic to ease the pressure on
your Achilles tendon. As Achilles tendinitis can also be caused by wearing old or inappropriate athletic shoes for your sport, your Pedorthist will also look at your shoes and advise you on whether
they have appropriate support and cushioning. New shoes that don?t fit properly or provide adequate support can be as damaging as worn out shoes.
There are three common procedures that doctor preform in order help heal the tendinitis depending on the location of the tendinitis and amount of damage to the tendon, including: Gastrocnemius
recession - With this surgery doctors lengthen the calf muscles because the tight muscles increases stress on the Achilles tendon. The procedure is typically done on people who have difficulty
flexing their feet even with constant stretching. Debridement and Repair - When there is less than 50% damage in the tendon, it is possible for doctors to remove the injured parts and repair the
healthy portions. This surgery is most done for patients who are suffering from bone spurs or arthritis. To repair the tendon doctors may use metal or plastic anchors to help hold the Achilles tendon
in place. Patients have to wear a boot or cast for 2 weeks or more, depending and the damage done to the tendon. Debridement with Tendon Transfer - When there is more the 50% damage done to the
Achilles tendon, and Achilles tendon transfer is preformed because the remain healthy tissue is not strong enough. The tendon that helps the big toe move is attached to give added strength to the
damaged Achilles. After surgery, most patients don?t notice any difference when they walk or run.
Suggestions to reduce your risk of Achilles tendonitis include, icorporate stretching into your warm-up and cool-down routines. Maintaining an adequate level of fitness for your sport. Avoid dramatic
increases in sports training. If you experience pain in your Achilles tendon, rest the area. Trying to ?work through? the pain will only make your injury worse. Wear good quality supportive shoes
appropriate to your sport. If there is foot deformity or flattening, obtain orthoses. Avoid wearing high heels on a regular basis. Maintaining your foot in a ?tiptoe? position shortens your calf
muscles and reduces the flexibility of your Achilles tendon. An inflexible Achilles tendon is more susceptible to injury. Maintain a normal healthy weight.