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Nonsurgical Treatments for Managing Achilles Tendinitis in Athletes

Achilles tendinitis is a common injury among athletes who participate in running and jumping sports. Repeated eccentric load-induced microtrauma stresses the structures in the foot and ankle and causes inflammation, leading to tendinitis. 

At Concord Podiatry, board-certified podiatrist David E. Biss provides specialized foot and ankle care for competitive and noncompetitive athletes, as well as nonathletes. As a sports medicine specialist, Dr. Biss aims to help you prevent injuries and provides treatment for a full range of foot and ankle injuries should they occur.

Running sports have a high incidence of Achilles tendinitis and injuries. When tendinitis strikes the Achilles tendon, Dr. Biss can work with you to manage it as best as possible so the tendon can heal and you can get back in the game. 

Why do I have Achilles tendinitis?

Overuse and training errors are common causes of Achilles tendinitis. Excessive running mileage and training intensity, hill running, running on hard or uneven surfaces, and wearing poorly designed running shoes are issues that can lead to chronic inflammation of the Achilles tendon. 

Biomechanical abnormalities such as inflexibility and hindfoot malalignment with foot hyperpronation increase the risk of developing achilles tendinitis. The first course of action is conservative treatment. If nonsurgical measures fail to provide adequate pain relief, surgery is a last resort.

Getting prompt care for Achilles tendinitis is crucial to prevent further damage, such as a partial or complete tear. When this occurs, surgery is necessary to repair the damage and get you back on your feet.

Managing Achilles tendinitis with nonsurgical measures

When you’re having Achilles tendinitis pain, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is generally the first recommended course of action. 

Rest is often challenging for athletes and active individuals who are training or eager to participate in their chosen sport or activity. However, easing the stress on the tendon so it has the opportunity to heal is crucial. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve pain and inflammation as the Achilles tendon recovers.

Physical therapy with targeted stretching exercises is a first-line approach to managing Achilles tendinitis. It can help athletes return to their sports safely and gradually by reducing pain and swelling in the Achilles tendon, strengthening the affected area, and improving mobility and flexibility. 

Physical therapy for Achilles tendonitis typically involves:

Night splints to stretch the tendon and immobilization for 2-4 weeks may also be beneficial. 

Other treatments include orthotic devices and shoe heel pads or cups. Severe cases may require the use of walking boots and crutches. Surgery to remove inflamed tissue around the tendon is a last resort.

Expert care for Achilles tendinitis

You’re in capable hands when you partner with the Concord Podiatry team to help you keep your feet and ankles in top shape. Whether you’re an athlete or a nonathlete, our team strives to provide exceptional foot and ankle care.

If you have Achilles pain, call our office in either Concord or Plymouth, New Hampshire, to schedule a consultation with Dr. Biss today. You can also send us a text at 351-777-6056.

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