If you are a runner, waiter, or another individual who places a great deal of stress on your feet, then you may be accustomed to foot and heel pain. Severe pain is not normal though. This is something that should be evaluated by a medical orthopedics specialist. An orthopedist is a medical professional who specializes in musculoskeletal problems. These problems include ones of the tendons, like the Achilles tendon in the lower calf or the heel. The problem may be a torn Achilles tendon. Keep reading to learn about this problem and also about treatment.
What Is An Achilles Tendon Tear?
The Achilles tendon is the long fibrous piece of tissue that attaches to your heel. Specifically, it runs from your calf muscles to your heel bone. The Achilles tendon is the biggest and the toughest tendon in the body. It is also extremely important because it allows you to stand, walk, and run. Without the tendon, your feet would not move properly when your calf muscles flex.
The Achilles tendon is prone to small tears if the cord is overused or stressed. The simple act of daily running or staying on your feet for eight hours or more a day can cause the tears to form. Also, if the arches in your feet start to flatten, this places a great deal of stress on the tendon. If you wear shoes that press on the heel strongly or if you do not wear proper footwear when running, then this can cause damage as well.
When tears form in the tendon, then you will experience pain and swelling. It may be difficult for you to stand on the tips of your toes or to flex your calf muscles.
How Is An Achilles Tendon Tear Treated?
Your orthopedic specialist will complete an examination to determine if the tendon problem is serious. Large tears and completely ruptured tendons require advanced treatment, like surgery. If microtears have formed, then you will be asked to rest the tendon as much as possible. This means avoiding any activity that places undue stress on the tissue. Running, jogging, climbing, and even waking up stairs are a few activities you may need to stop for some time.
You may need to wear a splint or a bandage on the ankle to keep the tendon from stretching too much. This can prevent the recurrence of tears as the tissue heals. You may need to wear athletic shoes to support the heel and arch as well and gently stretch the tendon. Gentle stretches are ideal to keep scar tissue from forming. This can cause long-term movement and flexibility problems. Gentle stretched may need to be handled by a physical therapist. If you think that you can stretch successfully at home, then ask your physician to demonstrate stretches so you know you are doing them properly.