Achilles Pain Tendonitis & Football
May 20 2008 | Articles
Overview of the Achilles Tendon
The Achilles tendon is located just above the heel which is the continuation of the Gastrocnemius and Soleus calf muscles. It forms the lower part of the calf and attaches to the bone of the heel. It functions to produce force in the calf muscles in order for individuals to effectively walk or run. It is the strongest and largest of the tendons in the human body since it can actually support individuals’ full body weight and more.
What is Achilles Tendonitis?
Achilles Tendinopathy or Achilles Tendonitis is characterized by pain in the Achilles tendon which radiates to the lower calf and heel. It is a common medical condition among footballers since the tendon is used frequently resulting to wear and tear. The tendon experiences degeneration which is also called tendonosis.
Achilles Tendonosis is one of the primary manifestations of Achilles Tendinopathy wherein small lesions inside the tendon are present but the tissues are not inflamed. If the tissues are inflamed, the condition is known as Tendonitis.
The lesions reduce overall strength and stability of the Achilles tendon and chances are that it could rupture with more activity. Tendonitis is more common among footballers and can range among individuals with varying ages.
The usual symptom of Achilles Tendinopathy is pain which becomes more severe during physical activity. The area may also be sensitive to touch and feels stiff after lying down for a long period. The affected tendon can also appear larger compared to the other unaffected one. Compared to Achilles Paratendinopathy, Achilles Tendinopathy patients experience pain when moving the ankle up and down. The Achilles Paratendon does not move during ankle movement.
For pain and swelling, ice packs and Achilles strap help a lot in controlling inflammation. A medical doctor and physical therapist will provide medications that should be taken to reduce inflammation. Strengthening and rehabilitative exercises should be done after the initial acute stage.
If all else fails than surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgery may be indicated to remove the degenerated areas of the tendon and restore the tendon to optimum tensile strength. It takes about three to six months before the individual can resume physical activities and sports.
Running activities and other sports which put a toll on the Achilles tendon should be monitored and controlled in order to ensure that the tendon has fully recovered before the next session. Stretching and strengthening exercises are crucial to keep the tendon stabilized and strong. It is a good idea to wear shock-absorbent insoles or to run on low-impact ground like grass to minimize pressure on the Achilles tendon.
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