The hallmark symptom of Achilles tendinitis is pain and stiffness in the back of the leg, just above the heel. You may experience tenderness and swelling in the affected area, especially after physical activity or prolonged periods of inactivity. The pain may worsen with increased activity and may even become chronic if left untreated. It is important to seek professional help if you suspect Achilles tendinitis to prevent further damage and complications.
What Causes Achilles Tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis can be caused by several factors, including:
- Overuse or Repetitive Stress: Engaging in activities that put excessive strain on the Achilles tendon without allowing sufficient time for recovery can lead to tendinitis.
- Intense Physical Activity: Participating in sports that involve running, jumping, or sudden acceleration can increase the risk of developing Achilles tendinitis.
- Poor Footwear: Wearing shoes that lack proper support or do not fit correctly can contribute to the development of Achilles tendinitis.
- Tight Calf Muscles: Having tight calf muscles can increase the strain on the Achilles tendon and make it more susceptible to injury.
Prevention of Achilles Tendinitis
While Achilles tendinitis can be a debilitating condition, there are steps you can take to prevent its onset:
- Gradual Progression: Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your physical activities to allow your body time to adjust and strengthen the Achilles tendon.
- Proper Footwear: Invest in well-fitted athletic shoes that provide adequate support for your feet and ankles.
- Stretching: Regularly perform stretching exercises that target the calf muscles to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.
Cross-Training: Incorporate low-impact activities, such as swimming or cycling, into your exercise routine to minimize stress on the Achilles tendon.