Treating Achilles Issues
You were the star of your monthly pick-up basketball game, exploding off the ground with a 3-pointer to win the game. After the game, however, you weren’t feeling like such a winner. You experienced pain in your lower leg between your calf and your heel. Most likely you injured your Achilles tendon, something we see fairly often at Paul S. DeMarco, DPM. The question is how bad is the injury and what treatment will be best?
Types of Injuries
Injuries of the Achilles tendon are generally what are known as “overuse injuries.” They may occur because you suddenly increased the intensity or duration of your exercise routine or as the result of one, intense push off with your feet. Going from least serious to most, you may have just aggravated or inflamed the tendon (Achilles tendonitis) or you may have been suffering with tendonitis for a while and now the condition has progressed to tendonosis, where microscopic tears have formed in the tendon. The most serious injury is a partial or complete rupture of the tendon. This is usually caused by that sudden intense push off but it is also more likely to happen to a patient who has an already weakened tendon due to tendonosis or tendonitis.
What Can Be Done?
There are a number of treatment options for Achilles injuries. The first step is for our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco to examine your foot and calf area and determine the type and extent of the injury. In addition to getting a history and details of your symptoms, the foot doctor may also order x-rays. Once the injury is fully understood, the foot doctor will go over your treatment options.
Non-invasive treatments for Achilles problems include:
· Immobilization—using a cast or removable walking boot to allow the Achilles tendon to rest and heal
· Medications—oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may be prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation
· Icing—another treatment to reduce inflammation and swelling
· Night splints—to help keep the tendon stretched while you sleep
· Physical therapy—stretching, strengthening exercises, ultrasound and other physical therapies may help heal and restore the tendon and surrounding tissues
· Orthotics—if your gait or other biomechanical problem is responsible for your tendon issues, a custom orthotic insert may be recommended.
The sooner you seek treatment the sooner you will experience relief of your symptoms and you’ll also lower your risk of worse injury occurring. Contact our Somers Point office today for an appointment.