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    Achilles tendinitis

    • Overview

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      Achilles tendinitis happens when the Achilles (uh-KILL-eez) tendon, which connects the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to the heel bone, is overused. This injury is common among runners who suddenly increase the intensity or duration of their runs and middle-aged people who play sports like basketball or tennis on weekends.

      Typically, Achilles tendinitis can be treated with simple at-home care under a doctor’s supervision. It’s essential to follow self-care strategies to prevent future episodes. In more severe cases, Achilles tendinitis can result in tendon tears that may require surgical repair.

    • Symptoms

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      If you engage in running or other sports activities, you may experience mild pain in the back of your leg or above the heel, which may indicate Achilles tendinitis. You may also experience more severe pain after stair climbing, sprinting or prolonged running. Additionally, you may notice tenderness or stiffness, especially in the morning, which may improve with mild activity.

    • When to see a doctor

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      If you experience persistent pain around the Achilles tendon, it is advisable to contact your doctor. In cases where the pain or disability is severe, seek immediate medical attention, as this may indicate a torn (ruptured) Achilles tendon.

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    • Causes

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      Achilles tendinitis can occur due to repetitive or intense stress on the Achilles tendon, which links the calf muscles to the heel bone. This tendon involves walking, running, jumping, and standing on the toes.

      As people age, the structure of the Achilles tendon weakens, making it more vulnerable to injury. This is especially true for those who participate in sports on weekends or have suddenly intensified their running routine.

    • Risk factors

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      Multiple contributing factors can heighten an individual’s risk of developing Achilles tendinitis. These variables may encompass an individual’s gender, age, physical capabilities, workout regimen, medical history, and current medications.

      According to statistical data, men are more susceptible to experiencing Achilles tendinitis, while the likelihood of developing this condition may escalate with age. Moreover, individuals with naturally flat arches or those who are overweight may put more strain on their Achilles’ tendons, just as those with tight calf muscles. Running on uneven or hilly terrain, wearing worn-out shoes, or exercising in colder weather can also elevate one’s predisposition to Achilles injury.

      Notably, those with pre-existing medical conditions such as psoriasis or high blood pressure may be at a higher risk for developing Achilles tendinitis, and certain types of antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones, have been linked to an increased likelihood of this condition.

    • Prevention

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      Reducing your risk of Achilles tendinitis is an intelligent move. Although it’s not always possible to prevent it, there are some measures you can take to give yourself a better chance.
      If you want to get into a regular exercise routine, take it slow and steady. Start with shorter workouts and progressively increase the time and intensity as you build strength and endurance. Consistency is critical to reaching your fitness goals!
      Take it easy. If you feel pain during a particular exercise, it’s essential to stop and take a break.
      Choose exercise shoes with good heel cushioning and arch support to relieve strain on the Achilles tendon. Replace worn-out shoes or add arch supports to improve support.
      It’s essential to stretch your calf muscles and Achilles tendon daily to maintain flexibility and prevent the recurrence of Achilles tendinitis. Doing this in the morning and before and after exercising is the best way to keep your body feeling good and ready to take on whatever comes your way.
      Strengthening your calf muscles is crucial for handling physical activity and making your tendons more resilient.
      Mix it up! Switch between high-impact workouts like running and jumping and low-impact ones like cycling and swimming. Your body will thank you for the variety.

    • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

    Content Details

    Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

    Last updated on: 07/08/2023