Tendinitis is the term used when a tendon is inflamed. The term acute tendinitis refers to inflammation that comes on suddenly or within a few days, usually due to a tendon strain or overloading the tendon during exercise.
In the case of acute Achilles tendonitis, most individuals can identify an injury or specific event that caused a strain or tearing of the Achilles tendon. When the fibers of a tendon are torn, they become inflamed and swollen causing pain and tenderness in the area which can also result in difficulty flexing the foot during regular movements, such as walking and jumping.
Most commonly, this condition is seen in the "weekend warrior" athlete who sits at a desk all week and then plays softball or tennis on the weekend. The resultant muscle strain (mild tears) creates inflammation and pain and can lead to tendinitis. This condition could also be created if the tendon is strained from a sudden trauma such as a fall or misstep.
Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms
If you are suffering from acute Achilles tendinitis you will most likely be experiencing:
- Pain that occurs abruptly following a tendon strain, usually part way up the Achilles tendon.
- Sharp pain at the beginning of activity that decreases in intensity as exercise progresses.
- Pain that returns after exercise or after long periods of inactivity.
- Pain may subside when the Achilles tendon is allowed to rest.
- Pain becomes most significant when pushing off or jumping.
- Stiffness in your Achilles tendon when you wake up in the morning.
- Tender and warm to the touch.
- The Achilles tendon is irritated by heat but feels good when treated with cold compression and rest.
If you feel a sharp pain, as though you've been hit in the back of the ankle, and hear a "pop" sound, your Achilles tendon has likely ruptured. A ruptured (completely torn) Achilles tendon can occur when the Achilles tendon is overstressed to the point of tearing. It will be very difficult for you to walk or move your ankle if this is the case.
Causes of Achilles Tendinitis
Acute Achilles tendonitis may be caused by:
- Improper stretching before and after running and jumping exercises.
- Changes in foot wear (i.e. high heels, poor running shoes).
- An inflexible Achilles tendon (i.e. tendon with scar tissue from previous injury or wear and tear).
- An increase in training, training on uneven terrain or a change in terrain (i.e. hills) .
- Weak or inflexible calf muscles.
Achilles Tendon Treatments
It is important to treat Achilles tendon injuries as soon as possible, as any activity or strain you put on your tendon can re-injure it further. Though the pain, discomfort, and inconvenience of an Achilles condition can be overwhelming, it is possible to overcome it.
The trick with any tendon injury is getting it to heal with minimal scar tissue formation. Even with optimum healing, there is always less elasticity in a previously injured tendon. This will cause the tendon to hurt, during exercise and everyday activities. However, if you heal your injury efficiently and quickly, your chance of re-injury later on is much lower than average.
Allowing your Achilles tendon to rest is always recommended following injury. Avoid all activities that may have caused the injury or irritation and begin cold compression treatments as soon as possible. The Achilles tendon is a difficult tendon to rest completely as it is an essential tendon for walking and daily activities. Fortunately, there are healing tools that can help treat your tendon and speed up the healing process so you can get back to a life without pain and risk of further injury. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) will promote blood flow to heal your tendon faster and more completely than any other methods available.
Although steroid injections may provide temporary relief from the pain of Achilles tendinitis, they should generally be avoided as they weaken the tendon and may lead to a rupture. If you do opt for an injection, doctors usually recommend that you do not participate in strenuous activities for several weeks to reduce the risk of a rupture.
Freezie Wrap® Cold Compression Therapy
Doctors recommend using cold compression as soon as possible following an acute Achilles injury and re-injury to reduce pain and swelling and minimize tissue damage that occurs with soft tissue injuries like tendon tears.
The Ankle/Achilles Freezie Wrap® allows you to treat your Achilles tendon in an effective and convenient way. The wrap is adjustable which allows you to control the compression to a level that is comfortable for you and the gel packs are chilled in the fridge not the freezer. This eliminates the risk of cryoburn, or 'cold burns', on your skin that can be cause by ice and strandard freezer gel packs. You can also wear the Freezie Wrap® for longer treatments so you can enjoy even more relief from your Achilles pain!
Cold Compression Therapy works by interrupting and slowing nerve and cell function in the injured area and reducing swelling that can block blood vessels. This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood through the Achilles tendon and tissue cells begin to break-down. Without cold compression therapy cellular break-down and tissue damage continues as the cells do not get the oxygen they need to survive. By limiting the amount of damage done to your tendon, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important step to heal your tendon faster and with less pain!
The deep cooling effect provided by the Ankle/Achilles Freezie Wrap® gives you the fast, effective relief your sore Achilles tendon has been looking for!
Inferno Wrap® Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™
After the inflammation and swelling is gone you can begin to treat your Achilles tendon with Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™, or BFST®. BFST® increases the amount of blood that flows naturally to your ankle to nourish your tendons, ligaments and muscles to speed healing.
The Achilles tendon receives a limited blood supply compared to other tendons in the body and this significantly reduces its natural ability to heal itself.
By treating your Achilles tendon with BFST® you can increase your body's blood supply to the ankle and increase your body's natural healing power. In addition, the fresh blood flow whisks away dead cells and toxins that have built up from the injury leaving the area clean and able to heal faster. Our Ankle/Achilles Inferno Wrap® provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief and healing with no side effects.
Click Here to learn more about how Inferno Wrap® BFST® works
With these easy-to-use, home therapies you will notice incredible improvement in the flexibility of your Achilles and reduced pain. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!
Preventing Achilles Tendon Injuries
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Some methods of preventing Achilles tendon injuries include:
- Using an Inferno Wrap® on your ankle before exercising, and using a Freezie Wrap® after exercising.
- Increasing exercise intensity slowly - to condition your tendon to higher levels of exertion/stress.
- Stretching your tendon before and after exercise (warm up and cool down).
- Wearing shoes that fit correctly (cushioning under the heel and proper arch height) and support your feet.
- Running on softer, flat terrain is advisable to avoid injuring or re-injuring your Achilles tendon.
Please be aware that this information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.