Achilles tendinitis is a common health issue which occurs when the large tendon that runs down the back of the lower leg becomes irritated and inflamed. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body. It connects the calf muscles to the heel bone which allows you to walk, run, climb stairs, jump, and stand on your tiptoes. Although the Achilles tendon can withstand tremendous amounts of pressure, it can be prone to tendinitis, a state associated with overuse and degeneration.
Achilles tendinitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Inflammation is the human body’s natural reaction to injury, infection, or disease and it generally causes pain, discomfort, irritation, swelling, and inflammation, among other symptoms. According to research studies, Achilles tendinitis can even cause low back pain and sciatica. The purpose of the article is to help understand Achilles tendinitis and how it can be associated with low back pain and sciatica, among other health issues.
Achilles Tendinitis Causes
Achilles tendinitis is generally not associated with a specific injury and/or condition. The health issue commonly results from stress associated with overuse and degeneration. This frequently occurs when we push ourselves too much, too soon, however other factors may also ultimately increase the risk of developing Achilles tendinitis. These factors can include:
- Sudden increase in the intensity or amount of exercise and physical activity
- Having tight calf muscles and abruptly starting a fitness program can place additional stress on the Achilles tendon
- Bone spurs or extra bone development where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone
Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms
Achilles tendinitis can be characterized by a variety of common symptoms. These symptoms can include:
- Pain, discomfort, and stiffness along the Achilles tendon in the daytime
- Painful symptoms throughout the tendon or back of the heel that worsens with activity
- Severe pain and discomfort after exercise or physical activity
- Thickening of the Achilles tendon
- Bone spurs, also referred to as insertional tendinitis
- Swelling and inflammation which worsens throughout the day with exercise or physical activity
- Low back pain and sciatica due to compensation or altered gait and posture
If you experienced a sudden”pop” in the back of your calf or heel, you may have ruptured or torn your Achilles tendon. Make sure to seek immediate medical attention for a proper diagnosis if you feel that you may have damaged your Achilles tendon.
The association between Achilles tendinitis, low back pain and sciatica have been investigated in a variety of research studies. According to one specific research study, in 138 patients who experienced Achilles tendinitis and in a group of individuals nominated by the patients, matched for age, sex, and occupation, low back pain and sciatica had been experienced by 63 of the patients and by 91 of the individuals in the control group. However, 35 of the patients had experienced sciatica before Achilles tendinitis. Researchers found a significant association between Achilles tendinitis, low back pain, and sciatica. This association may be due to impaired afferent signals from the lower extremities or to similar collagen or vascular anomalies of the intervertebral disc and the Achilles tendon, associated with compensation or altered gait and posture.
Achilles Tendinitis Diagnosis
Once you seek immediate medical attention to receive a proper diagnosis for your Achilles tendinitis, the healthcare professional will examine your ankle and foot. Moreover, the healthcare professional will look for these symptoms:
- Swelling and inflammation along the Achilles tendon or at the back of the heel
- Thickening or augmentation of the Achilles tendon
- Bony spurs in the lower part of the tendon in the back of your heel
- Points of maximum tenderness
- Pain in the center of the tendon
- Pain in the back of the heel at the lower portion of the tendon
- Restricted range of motion in the ankle and foot, including a diminished ability to flex the foot
The healthcare professional may also order imaging tests, such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, to make sure that symptoms are due to Achilles tendinitis. Differential diagnosis for Achilles tendinitis may cause similar symptoms.
Achilles Tendinitis Treatment
In most instances, non-surgical treatment approaches may help provide Achilles tendinitis pain relief. Chiropractic care and physical therapy may also help decrease symptoms as well as increase strength and performance to promote faster recovery. The chiropractor or physical therapist may utilize a combination of treatment methods and techniques to improve overall health and wellness. Furthermore, because the bones and soft tissues of the ankle and foot are utilized throughout the various stages of walking and running, improper movement patterns of the ankle and foot can cause a variety of health issues, including Achilles tendonitis. Custom foot orthotics can provide support, stability, and shock absorption to prevent excess stress and pressure on the feet. For acute cases, your doctor may suggest that you consider surgery.
Achilles tendinitis is commonly characterized as the swelling and/or inflammation of the Achilles tendon which runs from the calf muscles to the back of the heel bone. As previously mentioned above, Achilles tendonitis generally occurs due to overuse and degeneration. Achilles tendinitis is commonly reported among athletes, especially runners. Common symptoms associated with Achilles tendinitis includes pain and discomfort along the length of the Achilles tendon. – Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight
Low Back Pain
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The purpose of the article is to understand Achilles tendinitis and its association with sciatica and other symptoms. Sciatica is a collection of symptoms characterized by pain, tingling sensation, and numbness. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal and nervous health issues as well as functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topic Discussion: Foot Orthotics
Low back pain and sciatica are common health issues which affect many individuals worldwide. However, did you know that chronic pain may be due to foot problems? Health issues originating in the foot may ultimately cause imbalances in the spine, such as poor posture, which can cause the well-known symptoms of low back pain and sciatica. Custom foot orthotics, individually designed with 3-arch support can help promote overall health and wellness by supporting and promoting good posture and correcting foot problems. Custom foot orthotics can ultimately help improve low back pain and sciatica.
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