Achilles tendon pain occurs mainly in people who usually run uphill races, who practice ballet or who train daily without being able to rest the musculature, resulting in micro-injuries and inflammation of the tendon, causing the pain.
In addition to heel pain, other symptoms may appear, such as stiffness in movement, difficulty walking, swelling in the area and the appearance of a lump in the tendon area, in some cases.
In the presence of signs and symptoms indicative of pain in the Achilles tendon, it is important that the orthopedist is consulted so that the diagnosis can be made and the most appropriate treatment initiated, which may involve the use of medicines, anti-inflammatory ointments and stretching exercises .
Achilles tendon pain occurs when this structure is subjected to greater stress than usual and there is not enough rest, resulting in an incomplete healing response, which causes small microscopic injuries to the tendon, including deposition of the tendon. fibrin and a disorganization of collagen fibers, resulting in pain, inflammation and stiffness of movement.
Achilles tendon pain is more frequent in people between 30 and 50 years old as a result of some situations, the main ones:
- Uphill races;
- Spinning standing;
- Lack of calf stretch;
- Daily training unable to allow muscle and ligament recovery;
- Wearing shoes that put pressure on the Achilles tendon;
- Local contusion;
- Heel spur;
In these activities, the movement of the toe and heel is very fast, strong and frequent, which causes the tendon to suffer a ‘whiplash’ injury, which favors its inflammation. In addition, the absence of stretching and/or rest also favors the formation of microinjuries in the tendon, resulting in pain.
How is the diagnosis made
Achilles tendon pain diagnosis must be made by the orthopedist through physical examination, in which foot movements are performed in order to assess pain intensity. In addition, imaging tests such as X-ray or ultrasound are indicated, which help confirm the diagnosis and assess the extent of inflammation.
What to do
In case of pain in the Achilles tendon, some indicated strategies are:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs and oral or topical analgesics;
- Rest: Avoid exertion, but it is not necessary to rest completely, just do not practice physical activity for a few days;
- Suitable footwear: Wear tennis shoes or comfortable shoes, avoiding very hard shoes and also high heels, Anabela type sandals can be used as long as the heel is no more than 3 cm high, no other type of shoes or sandals with heels is recommended;
- Ice packs: Place crushed ice inside a stocking foot and wrap around the ankle and leave for 15-20 minutes, several times throughout the day, always paying attention to the skin.
In addition, acupuncture can also be used to alternatively combat pain and inflammation.
Physiotherapy for Achilles tendon pain
In physiotherapy, other electrotherapy resources such as ultrasound, tens, laser, infrared and galvanization can be used, for example, in order to promote pain relief and inflammation. Calf stretching exercises, local massage and then eccentric, straight leg and bent knee strengthening exercises are of great help in healing Achilles tendon inflammation.
To stretch the leg muscles, the physiotherapist can recommend the following exercise:
- Climb a step and support your foot on the edge of the step;
- Support your body weight and lower your heel as far as possible;
- Keep in this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute;
Repeat the same exercise with the other leg. Do 3 stretches with each leg twice a day for 1 week. After this period, it may be indicated to perform strengthening exercises with these same muscles, in which case the same step can be used, as follows:
- Support your feet on the edge of the step;
- Raise the heel as far as possible. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
Other exercises can be recommended by the physiotherapist, as needed, and these are just a few examples of those that can be done at home.