Did you know the name Achilles’ heel comes from Greek mythology? When Achilles, the son of Peleus and the Greek goddess Thetis was born, it was prophesied that he may die young on the battlefield. In an attempt to save Achilles’ life and make him immortal, Thetis bathed the infant into the River Styx, a river that runs into the Underworld. However, Thetis held Achilles by his heel, so the water didn’t touch that part of his body, making him vulnerable to injury there. When Achilles was older, he fought in the Trojan War and was killed by a poisoned arrow that struck him on his unprotected heel. So this is why the expression “Achilles’ heel” refers to an isolated weakness. And a weakness in your Achilles tendon may lead to Achilles tendinitis.
What is Achilles tendinitis?
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It connects the calf muscle to the heel bone along the back of your leg. It also is one of the strongest tendons. Its’ action allows you to walk, run, jump, stand on your toes, and to go up and down stairs. While the Achilles tendon can withstand the stress of your body’s weight, it also can be injured easily.
Achilles tendinitis is the result of tiny tears to the tendon that happen over time due to overuse or degeneration. This causes inflammation and pain of the tendon.
What are the causes?
- Repetitive stress to the tendon from work, sports or other activities.
- Changes in how long, hard, or often you exercise.
- Having tight calf muscles and not warming up properly before exercise.
- A bone spur that rubs against the tendon.
- Shoes with poor arch supports or rigid heels.
What are the symptoms?
- Swelling in the ankle area.
- Pain and stiffness along the tendon in the morning.
- Pain along the tendon or back of the heel that worsens with activity.
- Thickening of the tendon.
- Severe pain the day after exercising.
- Limited mobility of the ankle and flexibility of the foot.
How is it diagnosed?
Your doctor will exam the back of your leg for pain and swelling. Also, your doctor may want you to have an X-ray or MRI.
How is it treated?
Treatment of Achilles tendinitis includes:
- Rest to keep symptoms from getting worse.
- Ice to reduce inflammation.
- Over-the-counter pain medication to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Stretching exercises or physical therapy to strengthen the calf muscles and reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.
- Cortisone injections to reduce inflammation.
- Wearing well-cushioned shoes to reduce irritation on the tendon.
- Custom orthotics, like the ezWalker® Performance Insoles, can reduce strain on the Achilles tendons. These insoles will keep your feet in their normal position, prevent overpronation or supination, and keep your Achilles tendon from twisting as you walk. Therefore, your feet will be better biomechanically aligned with each step you take.
Severe cases of Achilles tendinitis may require surgery or a cast, splint, brace or walking boot to keep the lower leg from moving.
For more information on how ezWalker® Performance Insoles can improve your foot mechanics, contact us today. We’re so confident that you’ll experience a substantial improvement in walking comfort that we offer a 90-day, 100% money-back guarantee. So what do you have to lose – except your pain? Visit our online shop to purchase your ezWalker® Performance Insoles today.
Remember … when your feet feel good, you feel good.
Note: If you follow these guidelines and your pain persists, you may have a more serious condition. See your physician for a more complete diagnosis and treatment.