The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. Tendons are made of long, tough cords of tissue that connect muscle to bone. The Achilles tendon is located in the back of the foot and connects the heel bone to the calf muscle. It helps you walk, run and jump. Although the Achilles tendon can withstand great amounts of stress, it can occasionally become injured. Overuse of the Achilles tendon may cause the tendon to swell, become irritated or inflamed and cause pain.
Achilles tendonitis is a common athletic injury among runners and is typically caused by sports that cause you to quickly start and stop, poor fitting shoes, exercising on uneven ground, tight calf muscles, bone spurs or flat arches.
If you have Achilles tendonitis, you may experience symptoms such as slight pain above the heel and in the lower leg after activity, swelling in the area of the Achilles tendon or pain as you climb stairs or go uphill. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to reduce the risk of Achilles tendonitis. Rotating your exercises, slowly increasing the length and intensity of your workouts and keeping your muscles active year-round is key in preventing this type of injury. If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your physician today for a tailored treatment plan.