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Achilles Tendonitis – a Case of the Strongest Tendon as the Weakest Link

In Greek mythology, Achilles, one of the most famous warriors of the Trojan War, was the son of a nymph Thetis and King Peleus. To make him immortal, Thetis dipped Achilles in the River Styx, but since she held him by the heel, that was the only part of him that was vulnerable. According to one myth, the death of Achilles occurred when a poisonous arrow fired by Paris and guided by the god Apollo, entered his heel and killed him.

Named after Achilles, the Achilles tendon is the strongest and thickest tendon in the human body and can withstand forces of up to 1,000 pounds, but also is the most susceptible to ruptures especially in the case of athletes and sports enthusiasts.

The inflammation to the tendon known as Achilles Tendonitis occurs due to:

  • the foot twisting outward or inwardly
  • running on hard surfaces
  • wearing shoes that do not support the feet properly
  • too much jumping and running
  • tightly strung calf muscles
  • a sudden increase in the intensity of a run after a period of inactivity
  • constantly running up stairs or inclines

Symptoms:

  • dull ache in the heel and tendon area while walking or running
  • swelling and pain around the tendon area
  • stiffness in the lower calf area when standing up after a night’s sleep

Treatment:

  • application of ice packs three times a day
  • reducing stress to the Achilles tendon area
  • a change in the duration and intensity of activity or if necessary, discontinuing for a while
  • making changes in footwear
  • using heel lifts, braces or cushions to give the area a rest
  • taking anti-inflammatory drugs for pain and swelling
  • going for physical therapy to exercise the muscles

Ordinarily Achilles Tendonitis can be treated with home-cures; however, exercises must be done under a doctor’s supervision. If left untreated, ruptures can develop and then the need to see a podiatrist is imminent. Serving the community of Fayetteville, NY and the Syracuse Metropolitan area, Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico of Syracuse Podiatry is board certified and an expert in all foot and ankle problems. We at Syracuse Podiatry are committed to providing our patients with the best care. Browse our website for further information and call us at (315) 446-3668 to schedule an appointment.

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