WHAT IS ACHILLES TENDINITIS?
One of the most common disorders that occur in the Achilles tendon is Achilles tendinitis. This is inflammation of the tendon. Most of the time, tendinitis is short-term. However, in some occasions, the inflammation does not resolve and can lead to degeneration of the tendon or other issues.
What causes achilles tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis generally occurs as a result of repetitive movement of the Achilles tendon. Repetitive movements or an increase in activity can lead to added stress and micro-tears of the tendon fibers. Due to continual stress on the tendon, the body is unable to repair the injured tendon. The structure of the tendon is then damaged, resulting in chronic pain.
Achilles tendinitis may also be caused by tight calf muscles or bone spurs on the heel. Athletes who participate in repetitive movements and experience tight muscles may be prone to injuries of the Achilles.
What are the symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis
The most common symptoms of Achilles tendonitis and include:
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
In order to properly diagnose an issue with the Achilles, it is best to see a medical provider for an evaluation. During an evaluation, your medical provider will palpate the area for tender areas and swelling. They will also check your range of motion, alignment, and reflexes of your foot and ankle.
Your medical provider may order imaging to further evaluate the condition:
- X-ray – Used to visualize bone, an X-Ray may be ordered to rule out fractures and other issues that may present with similar symptoms.
- Ultrasound – An ultrasound may be ordered to show the soft tissue in the foot and ankle. Ultrasounds work well at showing an image of the tendon while in motion.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – Using a large magnet and radio waves, an MRI can produce very thorough images of the Achilles tendon.
What are my treatment options?
Often times our medical provider may prescribe specific stretching and strengthening exercises to improve range of motion and strengthen the Achilles tendon and the muscles supporting it.
Conditions with the Achilles are often a result of misalignment in other joints of the body. When your joints are misaligned, extra stress is put on feet and ankles. To correct this, our chiropractor may adjust your joints and spine to facilitate proper alignment.
Orthotics may be prescribed to provide support, stability, and shock absorption for the heel. A shoe insert or wedge that slightly elevates your heel can relieve strain on the tendon and provide a cushion that lessens the amount of force exerted on your Achilles tendon.
If conservative treatments don't work, our medical provider may suggest PRP to repair your Achilles tendon. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy uses injections of a concentration of a patient’s own platelets to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints. In this way, PRP injections use each individual patient's own healing system to improve musculoskeletal problems.
Stem cells are another regenerative method that may be prescribed if conservative measures do not work. Our stems cells are isolated from donated umbilical cords during healthy live-birth babies. The stem cells are able to target damaged tissue, neutralize inflammation, and accelerate healing. Stem cells are a great option for those wanting to avoid surgery.