What is the Achilles Tendon and what does it do?
The Achilles tendon is the major tendon in the back of the leg above your heels. It’s main function is to control the up and down motion of the heel as you move forward such as the heel lifting off the ground.
What causes the condition?
Most of the time, the Achilles tendon pain develops from overuse and mechanical strain to the tendon. The greatest culprit in stressing your Achilles tendon is the lack of movement in your ankles. However, for your ankles to move correctly, you need to be using the big toe. You will not be able to move the heel off the ground very well if your big toe is stiff when you walk.
Restrictions in moving your big toe causes restricted motion in the ankles. You will not be able to bend downward enough in your ankles, which makes the heel unable to rise properly. As the tendon’s main function is to drop and raise the heel, the tendon will be stressed by the improper movements of the ankles. The tendon can be damaged by this strain. This is similar to trying to lift a weight that is too heavy to lift.
What can I do?
- Ice the tendon for 15-20 minutes 2-3 times a day. This can be done by freezing a Styrofoam cup of water and rubbing this directly on the Achilles tendon.
- Use of over the counter anti-inflammatories, such as Ibuprofen or naproxen can be helpful on a short-term basis. It is best to check with your doctor before taking these medications.
- Avoid high impact activities, such as jumping, until the pain lessens
- Use topical muscle rubs 3-4 times a day, if needed
- Caring for your Foot
- Achilles tendon cross-friction massage:
- Do eccentric exercises of the Achilles like these:
- If you need further evaluation and treatment for your condition we recommend a provider from the following organizations: