Achilles pain explained
If you’ve ever experienced pain in your Achilles, then you know that it can become a huge hinderance on every day activities. The Achilles tendon is what connects the calf muscle to the heel bone in the lower leg and it is one of the largest and most used tendons of the human body. Regular stress on the tendon is very common.
Achilles tendon conditions are commonly found in people who spend a significant time standing on their feet. The tendon has very little blood supply, so it often doesn’t recover well from stress. People who suffer from flat feet or no arch should be especially careful since a greater amount of stress is placed upon the Achilles during regular activity. Degeneration of the Achilles (Achilles tendinosis) can begin if the tendon is regularly overused. That is why it is extremely important to refrain from activities and rest when the Achilles is inflamed (tendinitis).
Symptoms of Achilles tendon condition
- Soreness where the Achilles tendon meets the heel bone
- Stiffness or weakness in the lower leg
- Pain in the calf or Achilles after running or exercising that worsens over time
- Pain during sprints, distance running, or stair climbers
- Swelling that is visible on the Achilles tendon
- A creaking sound can be heard when the Achilles tendon is touched
Reduce Achilles pain
Stretching your calf and hamstring can reduce tightening in the gastrocnemius muscle (above the knee), which is an underlying trigger for Achilles pain. Lunges and toe stretches are an easy and good option. Stretching is critical to reducing the strain in an unhealthy Achilles. If stretching isn't enough, using a dorsiflexion night splint can be a useful tool, as it will stretch the muscles as you sleep.