Posts for: April, 2019
Last week we discussed the importance of the Achilles tendon. Today, we explore how it can be affected by chronic and acute damage. A healthy tendon does not rupture. If you experience a tendon rupture—either chronic or acute—this means there is an underlying condition or disease affecting the tendon.
Many factors can contribute to a ruptured Achilles tendon. The most common cause is a flexing of the back of the foot while the muscle is still engaged. Ruptures can also occur from sudden, direct trauma to the area. Or from a sudden activation of the Achilles. Some antibiotics (famously ciprofloxacin) are known to increase the risk of tendon ruptures.
You are most likely to rupture your Achilles tendon if you perform regular physical activities that strain your ankle and calf. Elite athletes are at risk, as are the elderly, and people who have experienced ruptures before. Other factors that can contribute to an Achilles rupture include being overweight, wearing high heels, and poor foot support or structure.
If you believe you have ruptured or torn your Achilles tendon, see a podiatrist right away. They will perform a physical exam and oral history to determine the cause. Radiographs may be used to check for bone spurs or other causes of pain. And MRIs are becoming more common for diagnosing Achilles tendon ruptures.
Depending on the patient’s age, lifestyle, and overall health, the ruptured Achilles may be treated in several ways. Minor ruptures in healthy persons can be healed with a cast and physical therapy. Patients may have a full cast or a brace and must remain inactive while healing continues. Over-the-counter pain medications, heel lifts, RICE, stretching, and the MLS laser are all therapeutic options for Achilles tendon ruptures. However, in many cases, surgical intervention is necessary to repair the tendon.
If you are worried about or have pain in your Achilles tendon, call the FAAWC today at 740.363.4373.
The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. It is located on the back of the lower leg, surrounded by the calf muscle. The calf muscle is made up of three structures that serve to bundle around the Achilles tendon. The calf muscle begins just above the knee joint and extends down the back of the heel.
The Achilles tendon is the primary flexor of the foot. In other words, without it, you would not be able to flatten or point your foot. The Achilles also affects flexion in the knee. In ancient mythology, Achilles was brought down during the battle for Troy when an arrow pierced the back of his heel. Without the Achilles tendon, we would all be defeated.
If you want to protect your Achilles tendon from injury, there are several steps you need to take. First, be sure to stretch your calf muscles before and after exercise. Next, wear the proper shoes to support your ankles and replace these athletic shoes every six months. Finally, maintain a healthy body weight to reduce strain on the Achilles.
The Achilles tendon is particularly susceptible to ruptures and insertional pain. Other issues affecting the Achilles can include tendonitis, degeneration, and cholesterol deposits within the tendon. If you have pain or discomfort in the back of your heel, ankle, or calf, you may have a damaged Achilles tendon. Call the FAAWC today for an appointment and be on your way to better Achilles health tomorrow.
Plantar fasciitis is painful and needs to be treated. Because our tendons are vital to foot movement, healing is slow because we continue to walk and move. Standard treatments for plantar fasciitis include foot taping, NSAIDs, night splinting, and physical therapy. However, new and emerging treatments are opening the doors to faster healing. These new therapies include PRP injections, amniotic injections, and MLS laser treatment.
PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma. This type of plasma uses the abundance of platelets to naturally stimulate healing. Platelets signal stem cells to start repairing damage in the affected ligament. PRP is created by drawing blood which goes through a centrifuge to separate the plasma. The plasma is then injected into the foot. Patients generally need to be non-weight bearing for a few days following the injection. While this is one of the most beneficial and effective treatments available, it is often one of the most expensive as it is not covered under insurance.
Amniotic injections are working wonders for plantar fasciitis. These injections can be used alone or combined with stem cells, PRP injections, and other therapies. An amniotic injection will help tendons and tissues by synthesizing certain chemicals (cytokines and growth factors) that the body uses during healing. Amniotic injections also work against inflammation and the formation of scar tissue. Like PRP injections, this therapy can be expensive due to lack of insurance coverage.
Laser therapy is safe, effective, and can greatly speed healing time. It does not require the use of drugs or surgery, there are no known side effects, and it is quick and convenient. The MLS laser is specially designed to treat conditions such as plantar fasciitis. The laser is fully robotic and placed above the skin allowing the healing energy to penetrate tissue. Each treatment lasts about eight minutes and there is little to no sensation during the appointment.
Most patients experience positive results with between one and three treatments, with the average full course being seven to ten treatments. The effects of MLS Laser Therapy are cumulative; therefore, expect to see improvement as you proceed through your treatment plan. It is critical that once you start, you complete the course of treatments recommended by your doctor or symptoms are likely to reoccur.
There are many factors that determine what the right course of treatment will be for you. You and your podiatrist will discuss the severity of your condition, your goals for healing, the time and budget available for treatment, and together you will determine the best path. Call the FAAWC today to schedule your consultation.