Achilles tendonitis means that this tendon is inflamed. This tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. In the majority of cases, healing this injury is rather simple. However, in more serious cases, it is possible that the tendon can tear resulting in the need for surgical intervention. Because of this, knowing how to prevent this injury is key. It is also important to know how recognize it if you were to experience it.
Causes of Achilles Tendonitis
For soccer players, this tendon is constantly being used. Things like not wearing the right shoes and failing to warm up before exercise can put undue strain on this critical tendon and result in this condition. Jumping into exercise after a prolonged rest - such as returning from an injury or the offseason - and traumatic injury to this tendon can also result in this condition.
Diagnosing Achilles Tendonitis
In many cases, the symptoms of this condition can really tell the story. Swelling on the tendon, pain when using the affected leg, stiffness or tenderness around the tendon, bouts of severe pain with prolonged activity and weakness could indicate this condition. Once a doctor reviews the symptoms and suspects this condition, tests to confirm it are often done.
Regular X-rays are commonly used when confirming a diagnosis of this condition. They have the ability to show hardening or calcification of the tendon. If calcification is present, this can indicate a type of this condition called insertional Achilles tendonitis.
An MRI is not always done, as it is not always necessary. This type of imaging is most often used when surgery is being considered. It has the ability to show how severe this condition is. Once the severity is determined, the right surgical procedure can be chosen.
Preventing Achilles Tendonitis
It is not always possible to prevent this condition, but there are several things that can be done to reduce the risk. First and foremost, it is critical to stretch everyday. Even if soccer practice or a game is not happening, stretching is still critical to maintain tendon flexibility.
Choosing the right shoes and easing into higher activity levels will help you keep this tendon healthy and reduce tension on it. Strong calf muscles can help this tendon take impact better.