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How Does the Achilles Tendon Affect Foot Pain?

Achilles Tendon Affect Foot Pain

The Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, can be a source of significant foot pain when compromised or injured. This pain can impact your foot’s movement and ability to support the body’s weight. Understanding the relationship between the Achilles tendon and foot pain is necessary in foot pain treatment. Here is more on how the Achilles tendon affects foot pain:

Anatomy of the Achilles Tendon

The Achilles tendon is located at the back of the ankle and connects the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calf to the heel. The connection between the Achilles tendon and these muscles facilitates the downward push to the foot when walking or running. Anything that impacts your Achilles tendon’s structural integrity and flexibility may cause foot pain. You may need foot pain treatment if you experience the following conditions affecting your Achilles tendon.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury to the Achilles tendon that is common in people who lead an active lifestyle. In rare cases, the injury results from trauma, such as a hard blow to the back of the heel. Achilles tendonitis manifests as pain, swelling, and stiffness along the back of the ankle and heel.

Foot doctors diagnose this condition by examining the thickness of the Achilles tendon. Your doctor will also ask questions about your lifestyle and medical history during your appointment. Limiting activities that stain your Achilles tendon, like running, can remedy mild tendonitis. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and orthotics to treat severe cases.

Achilles Bursitis

There is a fluid-filled sac called the bursa on the area where your Achilles tendon rubs over the heel bone. The bursa reduces the friction between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone. Bursitis is characterized by inflammation of the bursa, causing heel pain. Other symptoms include swelling on the heel, pain whenever you stand on your toes, and changes in skin color around your heel area.

Wearing tight-fitting shoes and engaging in physical activity involving repetitive high-impact foot movements increases your risk of Achilles bursitis. The condition may also result from an infection, which doctors treat using antibiotics. Wearing orthotics can relieve the pressure on your heel. In severe cases, your foot doctor may administer a corticosteroid via injection into your heel to reduce inflammation.

Achilles Tendon Tears and Ruptures

A tear or rupture of the Achilles tendon results from sudden force or trauma. You may hear a pop when your Achilles tendon ruptures. You also experience a sharp pain in the back of the ankle, swelling, and difficulty walking or tiptoeing. Diagnosis for an Achilles tear involves checking your ability to move your injured foot. Your provider may also use imaging devices like an MRI or ultrasound to visualize the tear. You may need surgery to repair a severe tear. For milder cases, foot doctors use a brace or cast to immobilize the injured foot, giving the Achilles time to heal.

Insertional Achilles Tendinopathy

Insertional Achilles tendinopathy affects the lower portion of the Achilles tendon, where it attaches to the heel bone. This condition is common among older adults due to ongoing stress on the feet and degeneration of the Achilles tendon. You may experience tenderness and gradual swelling at the back of the heel when you have insertional tendinopathy. Treatments for this condition include footwear modifications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine, and foot support solutions. Physical therapy may also help with insertional Achilles tendinopathy.

Get Comprehensive Foot Pain Treatment

An injury to the Achilles tendon can cause significant pain and mobility limitations. Understanding the conditions that affect the Achilles tendon and their relation to foot pain can aid in early intervention. The doctors at reputable foot and ankle institutes can help diagnose and treat Achilles tendon-related foot pain. After foot pain treatment, a doctor can recommend exercises and foot care practices to prevent conditions affecting the Achilles tendon.

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