One of the most common causes of ankle pain is Achilles tendinitis. The Achilles tendon is the largest in your whole body and is used with every step, so it is susceptible to trauma. When the tendon is damaged or stressed, movement is difficult and painful, so understanding how the injury occurs and what to do about it can help you get back on your feet again and prevent further problems down the road.
Tendinitis is when a tendon becomes inflamed. There are two different kinds of inflammation of the Achilles tendon depending on where the injury has occurred. If it is found in the middle part of the tendon it is non-insertional tendinitis. Very small tears develop, which cause the ankle to swell. This type is usually more common in younger people who are involved in an athletic or active lifestyle. The second kind is called insertional tendinitis. It is found in the part of the tendon that connects to the bone. This type can be found in any person regardless of lifestyle. You will feel tightness and pain in the ankle area, and you may notice swelling or redness.
The main cause of tendon inflammation is overuse—doing too much, too soon. When you start a new intense exercise regimen, make sure to gradually build up to a high intensity. Always warm up your calves so that you are not exercising on tight muscles. If you are a runner try and change up the surface you run on so that you are not continuously on a hard surface that stresses your feet and ankles. Above all, wear shoes that fit you properly and are right for the activity you are doing.
The first thing you should do is stop the activity that is causing the pain. This is a temporary fix and you will be able to go back to living an active lifestyle after the tendon has healed. In the meantime, you can try switching to a different activity that involves putting less pressure on the foot, such as swimming or yoga. A custom-made orthotic or an over-the-counter shoe insert may help correct tendon problems caused by a faulty foot structure. Physical therapy exercises and stretches may help loosen tight tendons or muscles. We may recommend an anti-inflammatory medication to help ease the inflammation. In severe cases, surgery to remove some of the inflamed tissue may be necessary.
If you have noticed swelling, pain, or redness behind your ankle and think you may be suffering from Achilles tendinitis, call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, today at (978) 794-8406 or schedule an appointment online at one of our three Massachusetts offices. We will treat your Achilles tendinitis and get you back to the healthy and active lifestyle that we know you love. Do not suffer from ankle pain any longer.