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Posts for tag: Achilles Tendon

Heel pain has many causes, but the results are always the same – pain. If you’re living with heel pain not brought on by an injury, you need to see a podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis. Pump bump (Haglund’s deformity), bursitis, heel spurs, and tendonitis are all common causes of heel pain and can lead to Insertional Achilles Tendonitis.

A tendon is a strong band of tissue connecting a muscle to a bone. There are over 1,320 tendons in the human body. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone (calcaneus) and helps lift the heel off the ground when walking. Achilles tendons are prone to both overuse injuries, such as tendonitis, and sudden injuries, such as a tendon rupture.

READ MORE: Kids and Heel Pain

Insertional Achilles Tendonitis is a condition in which the end of the Achilles attached to the calcaneus begins to deteriorate. Onset is slow, with pain occurring at first during activity and then progressing in severity until you are forced to discontinue activity. Swelling and redness will be present, and it may be difficult to stretch the back of your ankle.

Your podiatrist will begin with a physical examination of your heel and ask you about your activity level and the type of pain you are experiencing. Although deterioration will not show on an X-ray, your doctor may take them to check for fractures and bone spurs. MRIs are the ideal choice for imaging the tendon to see the exact severity and location of the deterioration.

Conservative treatments for Insertional Achilles Tendonitis include RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), stretching, use of orthotics, and physical therapy to strengthen the foot and ankle. Laser treatments can assist in pain management and promote faster healing times. Lasers have documented success in reducing bone spurs and preventing further degeneration of tendons.

READ MORE: Heel Pain? Arch Pain? Could be...

For severe pain and deterioration, a surgical solution may be necessary. During the surgical procedure, the tendon is detached from the heel, bone spurs are removed, the tendon is prepped, and the Achilles is reattached using the Arthrex SpeedBridge repair system. We use this innovative 4-anchor bridge because it allows for additional compression and stability which will increase your range of motion and speed healing.

If you are experiencing heel pain without an obvious injury, you need to see a podiatrist. Don’t wait until heel pain takes you out of the game and keeps you from the activities you love. Call the FAAWC today.

Cycling is a great way to keep in shape while minimizing the impact on your feet and ankles, but that doesn’t mean there are no risks for your feet. All the energy you push through your legs is transferred directly into the bike through the bottoms of your feet. Arch pain, heel pain, and toe pain are all common complaints of cyclists. Luckily, just a few simple steps can help you avoid pain and injury and keep you going for miles to come.

Better Footwear

It should come as no surprise that your cycling shoes will affect your foot health. Shoes too tight or pointed in the toes can lead to issues such as bunions or hammertoes. There should be at least 1” of room between your toes and the front of the shoe. Just like all shoes, cycling shoes need to have arch support to avoid issues like plantar fasciitis. Sweat-wicking socks are strongly advised as sweaty feet can lead to fungal growth and athlete’s foot.

READ MORE: What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Seat Fitting

Your bike seat is at the proper height when your leg extends 80-90% of the way on the downward stroke of your pedal cycle. Knees should be directly under the hips in this extended position. Having your bicycle seat too low can put added pressure on the bottom of the foot and throw off the alignment of your hips and back. Improper seat height is usually felt in the knees, but pain can transfer downward to include calf pain and Achilles tightness. Seats that are too high put all the work on the toes to push the pedal down and back, straining the plantar fascia and leading to arch and heel pain.

Fitting Pedals

There are many types of pedals and each works for a different style of riding and cycling shoe. Your pedals should be fitted to the size of your shoe and position of the cleats. Small pedals can mean increased strain on a single part of the foot, exacerbating conditions such as Morton’s Neuroma. Wider or longer pedals will increase the surface area that your foot contacts, distributing pressure evenly.

READ MORE: Neuromas

Fitting Cleats

Cycling cleats should fit snug in the heel and wide around the forefoot. The cleat should place the ball of your foot (metatarsal arch) directly over the center of the pedal. Older-style clip-in pedals with toe cages are less adjustable and tend to place more of the forefoot over the pedal. Without proper alignment, your toes will end up doing all the pushing, putting extra strain on your plantar fascia.

Proper Pedaling

While riding a bike is easy, riding it properly is another story. Using the correct part of the foot during each push will help alleviate and prevent issues. Your forefoot (just behind the toes) should provide the majority of the energy for each push. There should be an angle of 20 degrees between your heel and the pedal, except during the forward part of your stroke when the angle decreases to less than 10 degrees. For leisure cycling, there should be even force used throughout the pedaling cycle. For competition racing, over 96% of your energy is expended on the downstroke.

READ MORE: Choosing The Right Shoes

Avoiding cycling injuries is easy when you maintain proper seat positioning, have the correct pedal and shoe size, and keep your pedaling stroke strong and even. If you have pain in your hips, knees, ankles, heels, or arches after a long ride (or especially after a short one!) come visit the FAAWC. We can help correct underlying conditions and suggest ways to protect your feet for miles to come.

Our ancient ancestors once believed the world was flat, but it’s a good thing the world is round, otherwise we’d have a lot of troubles. Another thing that causes trouble when it’s flat is your foot!

The arch is an extremely important feature of your foot. As you walk or run, there are certain times when your foot must remain rigid to push off the ground and provide balance. At other times, your foot needs to relax to distribute bodyweight and act as a shock absorber. If the tendons or ligaments supporting the arch are damaged or become weak, the arch will start to fall, and these functions will be impacted.

READ MORE: Choosing Exercise Shoes

When your arch flattens, the rest of your foot will fall inward, resulting in overpronation. This throws off the alignment of your steps and leads to other foot and ankle conditions. If you overpronate, the shock of each step is not absorbed or distributed properly. Extra wear and tear on the bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons of your foot can lead to plantar fasciitis, tendon ruptures, stress fractures, heel pain, and more.

Fallen arches occur due to a variety of different causes. When we are born, our feet are completely flat. Eventually an arch will develop; usually by age six. In some children, however, the arch will never fully form, mostly due to genetics. If you have diabetes, are obese, or are pregnant, your arches are more likely to fall. Adults can also acquire flat feet from wear and tear or as the result of an injury. Additionally, it may be a secondary symptom of a different underlying condition such as an excessively tight Achilles tendon or a weakened tibial tendon.

READ MORE: Achilles Tendon Ruptures

You may notice that the arch is visible when sitting, but the foot flattens once the person stands. This is common in kids, and many children outgrow flexible flat foot with no problems. In adults, the disappearance of the arch may be due to lack of strength in the foot and excess body weight.

The flattening of the arch itself generally does not cause symptoms, but the stress it adds to other portions of the foot can lead to new issues or exacerbate existing conditions. Pain may develop in the hips, back, or knees as well as the feet and ankles. One of the easiest ways to support a flat foot and avoid pain is by using orthotics and proper footwear. These will realign the ankle and reduce chances of injury. When combined with stretching and physical therapy, these methods can eliminate pain and other symptoms associated with flat feet.

READ MORE: Accommodative Orthotics

To determine the best course of treatment, your podiatrist will examine your feet from the front, back, while standing, and on tiptoe. They may also inspect the wear pattern on the bottom of your shoes to determine where you need support most. If you have fallen arches, make an appointment today to avoid pain tomorrow.

Last week we focused on ligaments and the ways we can sprain, tear, and stretch them. Today, we focus on our tendons, specifically the Achilles tendon. Achilles was a great hero of ancient Greece and the battle for Troy. Legend has it that he couldn’t be defeated in battle, but a single arrow to the back of the heel was enough to bring him down. If you’ve ever torn or ruptured your Achilles tendon, you know exactly why.

 

READ MORE: High Heels and Your Achilles Heel

A tendon is a strong cord that connects muscles to bones. The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscle to your heel bone and is the biggest tendon in your body. During recreational sports or heavy activity, the tendon may overstretch (causing pain) or tear/rupture (causing lots of pain). If your tendon ruptures, you might hear an audible “snap” or “pop” followed by severe pain and an inability to walk on the affected limb. While minor injuries can recover with rest and time, an Achilles tendon rupture may need to be surgically repaired to ensure proper healing.

 

Diagnosing an Achilles Tendon rupture is relatively straightforward. Your podiatrist may ask you to try pointing your toes, or they may feel around the calf for the tendon itself. In cases of a complete rupture, they may be able to feel a gap between the two ends. If there is any question about the severity of your injury, they may request additional tests such as an MRI or ultrasound to get a better look. Strains and ruptures can be treated with surgical or non-surgical options. Which you choose depends on a lot of factors so be sure to discuss your options thoroughly with your podiatrist.

 

Non-Surgical

Nonsurgical treatment of an Achilles tendon rupture involves complete immobilization of the foot and ankle. You may wear a cast or walking boot in combination with crutches to avoid weight-bearing. This path requires a minimum of six weeks for healing and can often take months with many follow up visits to your doctor. Tendons left to repair naturally are not as strong as surgically repaired ones so physical therapy and ankle strengthening will be important parts of your treatment plan. The chances of re-rupture are higher with non-surgical treatment.

 

Surgical

The surgical solution for an Achilles tendon rupture is to have your podiatrist stretch and sew the two pieces of your tendon back together. While this sounds gross and invasive, it’s a fairly simple procedure. Surgical repair of tendons makes them stronger, lessening the chances of another rupture, and gives you more range of motion than a non-surgical option. Recovery time is shorter with a surgical fix meaning you’ll be back to the activities you love in no time! All of our doctors are well trained in the repair of Achilles tendons and can answer any questions you may have about your procedure or healing.

 

READ MORE: Achilles Heel Injuries in Gymnasts

 

Keeping your Achilles tendon strong and protecting your feet and ankles during activity can help reduce the chances of a strain or rupture. Perform calf-raises to keep muscles in shape and vary your activities, so you aren’t putting the same stresses on your feet all the time. Watch yourself during high-risk activities such as jumping or running. If you think you have strained or ruptured your Achilles tendon, call the FAAWC today. Our urgent care access means getting the care you need, right when you need it. Call 740-363-4373 today!

The MLB season just ended with a stunning Championship win by the Houston Astros, but the hitting, throwing, running, and catching of 7 baseball games can really do a number on a player’s joints and lead to tendonitis in several different areas. While most of this tendonitis occurs in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists the symptoms and treatments are the same as if it occurred in your feet.

Tendonitis is an overuse injury brought on by a repeated motion that leaves joints, muscles, and of course tendons strained and weak. This can occur as it’s own injury or along with an acute injury, but tendonitis is definitely more common in athletes and especially older athletes. Our tendons lose elasticity as we get older (like a rubber band wears out), so the more we use it, the faster this may happen. Tendons connect muscle to bone and work between both, absorbing and releasing energy on both sides to move the parts of our bodies. Because they experience the stress you put on your bones and the strain you put on your muscles, tendons are very prone to damage.

Usual symptoms for tendonitis include general and achy pain, swelling, and tenderness. If these symptoms happen once they can be easily treated with RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). However, if a player develops tendonitis they would feel theses symptoms all the time and a chronic condition will develop. The longer this goes on the bigger chance there is of a sudden rupture.

There are over 100 tendons in your legs, ankles, and feet so tendonitis has many places to manifest. The most common types of tendonitis in the feet are:

Achilles Tendonitis: Pain between the heel and the calf

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis: Pain on the inner side of the foot

Peroneal Tendonitis: Pain on the outer ankle

Extensor Tendontis: Pain on the top of the foot

Anterior Tibial Tendinitis: Pain at the front of you foot

Whether you play baseball with your kids in the backyard or you’re walking onto the field for the playoffs, repeated overuse can lead to chronic pain. See your podiatrist today if you continue to have pain in one area. We’re here to keep you in the game!