Foot and Ankle Center Blog

Posts for tag: Achilles Tendonitis

By Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois
January 02, 2015
Category: Foot Care

Achilles TendonThe Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body, located in the back of the lower leg and connecting the heel bone to the calf muscle. This tendon is crucial as it facilitates walking and running by helping to raise the heel off of the ground.  While the tendon can withstand immense force, it’s also surprisingly vulnerable. Injuries to the Achilles tendon require prompt treatment.  

When the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed from excessive use, tendonitis can weaken it over time and cause small tears. Athletes are at a high risk for Achilles tendon injuries, which often occurs at the start of a new exercise or training program, or due to not having enough rest or recovery time.

You don’t have to be an accomplished athlete to suffer an Achilles tendon injury. People with flat feet, arthritis and other foot problems are also more susceptible to develop Achilles tendonitis due to increased demands placed on the tendon when walking.

Common symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:

  • Mild pain after running or exercising that intensifies gradually
  • Localized pain along the tendon, especially after running
  • Tenderness near the heel bone, with pain being worse first thing in the morning
  • Stiffness and limited range of motion in the lower leg and ankle
  • Swelling around the tendon
  • When the disorder progresses to degeneration, the tendon may become enlarged and develop nodules in the area where the tissue is damaged

To prevent injuries to the Achilles tendon, strengthening and stretching the calf muscles through daily exercise is recommended.  Alternating intense exercise with low-impact workouts and wearing proper shoes for your foot type and activity can also help reduce your risk for injury.

Any time you experience pain, tenderness or swelling along the Achilles tendon, visit the Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois in Springfield, IL for professional diagnosis and treatment. Treatment for an injured Achilles tendon should begin right away with rest, ice, compression and elevation.   Without prompt care, Achilles tendonitis will get progressively worse, thus increasing the risk for further deterioration and rupture.   As a last resort and when other treatments fail, surgery may be recommended to repair the tendon.  

The professional podiatrists at our Springfield office can provide the best diagnosis and treatment for optimal recovery.

By Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois
February 19, 2014
Category: Foot Care

HeelsWhile high heel shoes may look stylish or complement your favorite outfit, they are rarely the best option for a woman's feet. According to a study by the American Podiatric Medical Association, 39 percent of women wear high heels every day; of the women who wear heels daily, three out of four reported foot problems. Despite the numbers, many women continue to underestimate the health risks associated with high heels.

High heel shoes disrupt the body's alignment, crowd the toes and force the body's weight onto the ball of the foot. Wearing heels can contribute to a variety of foot and ankle problems, including:

  • Achilles tendonitis. The Achilles tendon and calf muscles tighten and shorten as the front of the foot moves down in relation to the heel. This causes stress and painful inflammation of the Achilles tendon.
  • Bunions. Narrow-toed shoes can cause a bony growth on the joint at the base of the big toe. The bunion forces the big toe to slant in toward the other toes, resulting in discomfort, blisters, corns and calluses.
  • Hammertoes. A narrow toe box crowds the smaller toes into a bent, claw-like position at the middle joint.
  • Metatarsalgia. Continued high heel wear can lead to joint pain in the ball of the foot as a result of heels forcing the body's weight to be redistributed.
  • Ankle injuries. Because heels impair balance and increase the risk of falling, ankle sprains and fractures are common.
  • Pump Bump. The rigid back of a pump-style shoe can cause pressure that irritates the heel bone, creating a bony enlargement known as Haglund's deformity.
  • Neuromas. A narrow toe box and high heel can compress and create a thickening of tissue around a nerve between the third and fourth toes, leading to pain and numbness in the toes.

Still not willing to ditch the heels? There are ways to relieve some of the damaging effects of high heels.

  • Avoid heels taller than 2 inches
  • Choose thicker, more stable heels. Thicker heels are still stylish, plus they lessen the stress on your feet and provide better shock absorption.
  • If you must wear heels, wear your gym shoes or flats for commuting and change into your heels once you arrive to your destination.
  • Stretch and massage your calf, heel, and foot muscles. This helps relax the muscles and tendons and prevents them from tightening and shortening.
  • Avoid shoes with pointed toes

High heel shoes can cause pain and foot deformities that can last a lifetime. So the next time you go to slip on your heels for a long day at work or a night out, consider the consequences and rethink your options. If foot pain persists, visit the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois for treatment.