Tag Archive for: Foot and Ankle

Achilles Tendon Treatment Options

Achilles tendon pain treatments offer effective relief for tendonitis and Achilles tears. Although Achilles injuries are often the result of repetitive sports movements, daily activities can also lead to a tendon injury.

Frequently, Achilles injuries are the result of a rapid increase in activity such as repetitive sports movements or increased daily activities that can place significant stress and strain on the Achilles and lead to injury. Our bodies perform best with regular activity, and when there is a spike from limited activity to high activity, or when high activity is prolonged (overuse), tendons and muscles become more susceptible to injury.

How to Identify an Achilles Injury

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel and enables motions such as running, jumping, and pivoting. Like all tendons, the Achilles is very strong, but excessive strain can cause irritation or rupture. In addition to changes in activity levels, poor footwear support and uneven surfaces can leave the Achilles tendon vulnerable.

Pain, swelling and stiffness near the back of the heel are often signs of Achilles tendon injuries. The type of injury and the appropriate Achilles injury treatment varies by circumstance. Some Achilles injuries can resolve with rest and anti-inflammatory medicines. Severe Achilles tears require corrective surgical treatment. If you experience pain along back of leg that persists during and after an activity, or if you experience stiffness after use, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Types of Achilles Tendon Injuries

When the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed or swollen, the result is tendonitis. The type of tendonitis varies by the location of the tendon injury. If the damage occurs at the point where the tendon attaches to the heel bone, the tendonitis is said to be insertional. If the tendonitis occurs within the middle of the tendon, the condition is classified as non-insertional.

Insertional tendonitis is found in patients of all ages and activity levels, whereas non-insertional tendonitis is commonly tied to active, young adults. Males between 30-50 years of age are at a higher risk of an Achilles injury.

Achilles tears (or ruptures) can be partial or complete and are often accompanied by a popping sound at the time of injury. Key signs of an Achilles tear include pain in the back of leg (during movement and at rest), thickening of the tendon, and loss of strength.

Do not ignore warning signs of an Achilles injury. Tendon injuries worsen without treatment.

Achilles Tendon Pain Treatments

The assessment of a tendon injury’s location and severity will guide the proper tendon pain treatment. Factors including pain level, pain pattern and activity level will be considered during a clinical examination. The use of x-ray and MRI imaging supports a proper injury diagnosis while revealing any pre-existing conditions that may contribute to the pain or impact treatment options.

Many Achilles irritation or inflammation conditions respond well to conservative treatments. By combining rest from activity with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and footwear that alleviates stress on the Achilles, many patients experience positive outcomes. Braces, arch supports, and physical therapy may also be used to aid recovery.

When conservative treatments fail to resolve partial tears, or when a full rupture occurs, corrective surgery is required.

Achilles tendon rupture surgery reconnects the tendon to the bone. The procedure restores the heel’s ability to push off as part of the basic walking and running motions. During surgery, an orthopedic specialist can repair or reattach a ruptured Achilles. A small incision is made at the heel and the damaged tendon is removed as necessary. If needed, the heel bone is prepared to reattach the tendon or to receive the new graft.

Surgery is followed by several weeks of immobilization and activity limits. With proper adherence to a closely prescribed rehabilitation plan, full recovery from Achilles tendon surgery can be achieved in six months.

There are effective Achilles tendon pain treatment options for inflamed and ruptured Achilles. Contact Dr. John Shank, CCOE’s foot and ankle specialist and orthopedic surgeon to schedule an appointment for your Achilles tendon pain.

What can Your Podiatrist Do for You?

One-quarter of the bones in the human body are in our feet. In other words, the foot is a complex structure of 26 bones and 33 joints, with more than 120 muscles, ligaments, and nerves. Our feet have many benefits, as they support our weight, act as a shock absorber, serve as a lever to allow our legs to move forward, and help us maintain our balance.

During a typical day, the average person takes about 10,000 steps, which means that our feet support a combined force equivalent to several hundred tons every day, resulting in possible injury and pain. Statistics show that 75 percent of Americans will experience foot problems at some point in their lives. The question then arises, what can a podiatrist do for you?

What is a podiatrist?

Podiatrists are health care professionals who have been trained to prevent, diagnose and treat common conditions and injuries affecting the foot, ankle and lower leg. Depending on their credentials – such as certifications, state license, or hospital affiliation – podiatrists can perform surgery on the bones, ligaments, tendons and joints of the foot and ankle. Podiatrists treat many conditions related to the foot, ankle and leg, including:

  •  Bunions
  • Plantar fasciitis
  •   Morton’s neuroma
  •  Corn and calluses
  •  Heel pain
  •   Athlete’s foot
  •   Flat feet
  •  Sports injuries
  •  Hammer toes
  •  Ingrown toenails

When should you go to a podiatrist?

Foot and ankle problems can be due to chronic medical conditions like arthritis or diabetes, or from everyday situations, such as overuse or poorly fitting shoes. A person warrants a visit to the podiatrist if they are experiencing acute or chronic pain in the foot and ankle, or if they are suffering from an injury or condition, such as diabetes.  You should go to a podiatrist for the following reasons:

  • Runners: A podiatrist can examine your feet and address any potential problems, or provide tips to avoid them. They can also recommend the best shoe for your feet.
  • Joint pain: Arthritis is one of the most common conditions affecting Americans. If the joints in your feet are often swollen, red, stiff or tender, see a podiatrist.
  •  Diabetes: Diabetes makes you significantly more prone to foot problems. These issues can range from dry skin to serious infections. If you have diabetes, you should have a foot exam performed by a doctor or podiatrist at least once a year.
  •  The pain is limiting your activities: If you have persistent pain in your foot, heel, or ankle, see a podiatrist for a diagnosis. He or she will perform a foot exam and may take X-rays. A proper diagnosis is the first step toward developing a treatment plan.
  •   Ingrown toenail: When a toenail grows into the skin, the ingrown nail can cause an infection. Ingrown toenails most often affect the big toe. If a toenail is very red or has lots of drainage, visit a podiatrist for treatment.
  • Have a sprain, strain, or broken bone: If you are experiencing swelling, trouble walking, redness, and increasing pain, it is suggested that you see a podiatrist. Podiatrists are experts at treating sprains, strains, and broken bones in the foot or the ankle. They can diagnose your injury and suggest treatment.

If you are experiencing pain in your foot, ankle or leg, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment with our podiatrist.