The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body and located in the rear of the foot. Since it is part of the foot, it is placed under great amounts of stress every day and prone to injury. It is a thick, cord-like structure that inserts into the back of the heel bone or calcaneus. A common Achilles injury is tendinitis and can significantly limit participation in physical activities.
Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendon. People who develop this tendinitis usually feel a burning pain or tenderness an area just above the heel. This condition has many causes but the most common are training errors, calf muscle inflexibility, and foot function abnormalities. Training errors include increasing workout intensity or amount too suddenly or changing running terrain without proper transition time. Inflexibility of the calf muscle can result from improper stretching or due to wearing high-heeled shoes causing shortening of the tendon.
The long time to heal Achilles tendinitis is due for the poor blood supply to the tendon. This is why early treatment is needed to prevent long-term injury. Treatment is possible at home with reduction or stopping the sport activity and icing the tendon three times a day for 15 minutes. Heal cups can be used to help take the stress off the tendon, but be sure to place them in both shoes to prevent other injuries. If pain continues for more than two weeks, it is necessary to talk to your podiatrist for a more thorough evaluation and treatment.