The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, and it is also one of the tendons that bother runners most often. If your Achilles tendon has been feeling sore and painful after your runs, and maybe even sometimes when you're inactive, then you probably have a condition called Achilles tendinitis. This is basically just a painful inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The best professional to see about Achilles tendinitis, in most cases, is a podiatrist or foot doctor. Here are some of the treatments they may recommend or administer.
Some runners are prone to Achilles tendinitis because of the way they stride. If you strike heavily on your heel, for instance, you are more likely to develop Achilles tendon pain than a runner who lands squarely on the midfoot. Your podiatrist may watch you run to see if your form and foot strike pattern are likely contributors to your injury. If they do feel your foot strike could use some help, they may recommend some orthotic inserts for your shoes. These will change the balance of your feet and help encourage you to land differently in a way that puts less strain on your Achilles tendon. For mild cases of Achilles tendon, you may just need to take a week or two off and then add orthotics to your shoes.
For more serious or ongoing cases of Achilles tendinitis, your podiatrist may recommend a treatment called neurostimulation. They will place an electrode on your tendon and then send an electric pulse through that electrode. The pulse will help relax and release the tension in the tendon. This should give you immediate relief. If you follow up with some rest and stretches, it can help you heal from Achilles tendinitis within a few weeks.
Another treatment option, and one that is often used for moderate to severe cases, is cortisone injections. A preparation of cortisone, which is a steroid, will be injected directly into your tendon. The cortisone will reduce inflammation in the tendon, which in turn will help ease your pain. If you rest and stretch in the weeks following the injection, it may only take one shot to heal from your tendinitis. If you keep training through the injury, you may need a couple of injections before you're completely healed.
Achilles tendinitis can be quite painful, but with the help of a podiatrist, you can heal and get back out there! For more information about seeing a foot doctor for foot pain, contact a local podiatry office.