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.
Hi Doc,I may be late on this column but it rncletey became of interest to me as I was fitted with orthotics by a podiatrist about 3 months ago.I initially sought help because of an Achilles tendon injury I suffered on my right leg while training for the LA Marathon. During the examination, the podiatrist, who regularly works with athletes, went ahead and watched my gait, took appropriate measurements, and cast me for a pair of permanent orthotics that I received about a week later.As prescribed, I gradually ramped up my usage until I was wearing them at all times and about 4-6 weeks later I restarted my running regimen. The problem is that I immediately began experiencing a strong, dull pain in the front part of my left knee, just under the kneecap. I used to feel this pain before the orthotics, which I treated with a knee band. However, the pain was never severe enough to stop running. Unfortunately, the orthotics exacerbated the problem to the point where I had to stop running.I’ve have several check-ups with my podiatrist each time he’s made modest corrections to the orthotics themselves (they are made out of a semi-rigid plastic and apparently moldable with high heat). Each time I leave the office and attempt to run, however, the pain returns and I have to stop running for several days until this subsides. Incidentally, I’ve experienced no problems with my right knee.I’m at the point now where I want to throw these orthotics away. I realize there’s a transition period where my body needs to adapt to the new environment. However, whereas the discomfort I experienced in the past was manageable, what I’m currently feeling in my knee isn’t acceptable and isn’t improving, either. I want to trust that this doctor knows what he’s doing, but I definitely feel like I keep taking my Jaguar back into the shop once a month!Any thoughts?
Bad impression or casting. Happens all the time. You got ripped off. Our products come with a 90 day money back guarantee so you’ve got nothing to loose but your pain. I’m a certified pedorthist who’s decided to go direct to the public because the doc’s are going by what a lab as marketed to them about anyway, and not their own devices. I don’t quite understand that but so be it. Want to try us? Go to http://www.walkezstore.com and check it out. Let me know if you have any further questions. Don’t forget to check out our reviews, we don’t make this stuff up. Thanks for your inquiry and I like the reference to your Jaquar. They are expensive and that’s why they want to sell them, big profit item.
Kathy Carandang, C-Ped/Owner of the WalkEZstore.com