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Sore Achilles Tendon

Sore Achilles Tendon

Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Individuals who participate in sports such as football, basketball, tennis, softball, running, gymnastics, etc., are more susceptible to injuries that could cause a sore Achilles tendon. This HealthHearty article provides information on this condition.
HealthHearty Staff
The term 'tendon' refers to a band of inelastic tissue that connects a muscle to its bony attachment. Achilles tendon, which is also called calcaneal tendon, is a band of fibrous tissue that the calcaneus (heel bone) to the calf muscles. It is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. It attaches the plantar, gastrocnemius, and soleus muscles (calf muscles) into the calcaneus. Bursae, which are small, fluid-filled sacs cushion the tendon at the heel. This tendon pulls on the heel when the calf muscles flex. This allows us to stand on our toes while walking, running, or jumping. Though this tendon is quite strong, it could get damaged due to overuse. Those who participate in sports such as basketball, volleyball, football, tennis, gymnastics, long jump, etc., are prone to injuries.
Causes
It is important to find out the cause, and treat it to prevent further aggravation. The factors which lead to Achilles tendonitis include:
Trauma or overuse, due to excessive physical activity or workouts like hill running or repetitive jumping
Performing physical activities without doing stretches or warm-ups
Wearing improper or ill-fitting footwear
Use of a drug called quinolone
Accidents or sports injury
Stress on feet due to obesity
Anatomical abnormalities like flat feet
Associated Symptoms
Besides soreness of the Achilles tendon, individuals affected by Achilles tendonitis are also likely to experience the following symptoms:
Numbness or dull pain
Swelling
Pain while performing normal activities like walking
Limping
Treatment
If the Achilles tendon is sore, and you have been experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, it's advisable to consult a doctor. Besides a physical examination, imaging studies or procedures such as X-ray examination and MRI scans could help ascertain the extent of inflammation. Also, following certain self-care measures would prove beneficial. These include:
Take rest and refrain from performing activities that could put stress on the inflamed tendon.

Application of ice packs would prove beneficial. It would reduce swelling and provide relief from pain.

Since this condition is characterized by the inflammation of Achilles tendon, the use of NSAIDs (Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin or ibuprofen would prove beneficial.

Going for physiotherapy sessions would help. Performing exercises would strengthen the muscles and tendons, and restore the range of motion.
Prevention
Here are some measures that can be followed prevent this condition in future:
Calf muscle exercises like toe raises greatly help in improving the load-bearing capacity of the Achilles tendon. To do the toe raises right, one should keep the raised position longer and return to the ground slowly.

Perform warm-up exercises and stretches before the workout.

Substitute high-impact sports like running and jumping, with low-impact sports like bicycling or swimming.

Take rest and refrain from performing exercises, if you experience pain during a workout.

Wear shoes that fit you perfectly, and provide support to the feet.
Following the aforementioned measures will help prevent Achilles tendonitis. In case of severe pain and discomfort, it's advisable to seek medical assistance at the earliest.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.