Your Achilles tendon is one of the largest and most powerful connectors in your body. It undergoes pressure and force many times your body weight as you use it to push off the ground when walking, running, or jumping. Since it’s so integral to your mobility, Achilles problems can severely limit you and keep you from your favorite activities.
Losing Limb Power
When your biggest tendon is weakened or compromised by an injury, you’re not able to push off the ground efficiently. You experience discomfort around the ankle and may find it increasingly difficult to walk or participate in sports or other athletic activities. Usually Achilles pain is caused by overuse injuries—poor conditioning, wearing bad shoes, and repeated hard impacts—though sudden, traumatic injuries can also cause problems.
Several different issues result in Achilles pain, including Achilles tendonitis, peroneal tendon problems, and lumps on the connector called xanthomas.
This condition is a common one, particularly for athletes. Repetitive strain on the tendon causes irritation. The connector then tightens and swells. It feels worse when you use it and improves somewhat with rest. Without treatment, the problem tends to intensify and you risk traumatic damage, like a tendon rupture.
Peroneal Tendon Dysfunction/Dislocation
Although the peroneal tendons are not attached to your Achilles, the connectors generally work together to push off the ground and propel you forward. When they suffer injuries, you experience many similar symptoms as well, along with some ankle instability. Dysfunction of these small tendons can encompass several issues: tears, inflammation, and dislocation. Dislocation develops when the supporting ligaments that normally hold these tendons in place allow them to slide out of position instead.
Xanthomas of the Achilles
These are small lumps that develop on the tendon because of elevated cholesterol in the blood. This is an uncommon problem, frequently inherited. It will feel like you have small nodules on your connector. You will need to have your underlying cholesterol problem addressed as you work to restore the tendon.
Treating any Achilles problems will involve a thorough evaluation to diagnose the exact issue as well as its severity. Dr. Darren Silvester will examine your foot carefully. Our expert staff will perform several tests to confirm any diagnosis. From there we can help you begin recovery. There are a variety of treatments available, and which ones will work for you will depend on your unique situation.
Since these conditions are usually connected to overuse, you will need to rest your affected foot for a time to allow it to heal. If too much movement worsens your condition, you may need to temporarily immobilize your foot in a brace. Any inflammation or swelling will need to be brought down as well. Ice and compression bandages can help discourage thickening or irritation in the tissues. We may also recommend anti-inflammatory medications. Most likely you will need to make shoe or orthotic adjustments for more support and stabilization. Physical therapy can then help you rebuild your strength as you recover.
If you’re experiencing pain from Achilles problems, don’t ignore it. Taking care of the issue early speeds up the healing process and decreases your odds of developing complications. Contact Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX, for more information or an appointment to take care of your lower limbs today. Call (210) 375-3318 or reach our office using our online request form and see our FAQ section for Achilles.