Pain in Your Achilles Tendon — What Could It Be?

Pain in Your Achilles Tendon — What Could It Be?

We have a number of joints, bones, and muscles to thank for our ability to walk in a fluid motion. Sometimes, however, as a part of being human, we may take an awkward step or have an accident while playing a sport, and later we feel the stinging or burning upset in your leg or ankle. That pain can make walking uncomfortable, or at worst, unbearable. 

The compassionate professionals at Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey are here for every strain, sprain, and ache. Feeling pain in your Achilles heel – a large tendon that stretches from your heel bones through your calf – is quite common, and getting rid of it starts with understanding what’s causing your pain. 

What is an Achilles tendon?

Your skeleton gives you stability, muscles give you shape, and ligaments hold everything together, cushioning joints and keeping them in line. Your Achilles heel connects the muscles that comprise your calf, running down to the heel bone. Your Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in your body. Not only does it support your ankle joint, but it also powers you when you push off in a sprint. 

Injuries to the Achilles tendon are common, occurring most often in athletes, whose jobs or hobbies require copious amounts of stretching and running. Even though ligaments, including the Achilles tendon, have some flexibility, they can be easily overextended, causing tears and pain. 

Why is my Achilles tendon hurting?

Your Achilles tendon, despite being so strong and important, is prone to several conditions that affect your ability to walk or run comfortably. Determining the cause of your Achilles tendon pain requires testing, some of which may look or feel like a typical exam. 

One of the most common reasons for pain in your Achilles tendon is Achilles tendonitis, a common, usually temporary, inflammation of the tendon. The pain can appear anywhere on the affected calf, from the heel itself to the back of your calf. 

Achilles tendonitis can be accompanied by mild swelling and skin that feels warmer than normal. You may have stiffness in the back of your leg or feel pain that worsens as your physical activity intensifies. 

Another common Achilles tendon disorder is Achilles tendinosis, a long-term chronic condition in which the Achilles tendon begins to break down. The weakened ligament fibers can’t withstand everyday use while losing their integrity, causing them to tear and scar tissue to form at the seams of the tear. Scarring on the ligament disallows your ligament to properly heal.

Though rare, it’s possible for your Achilles tendon to rupture, ripping loose of the heel bone to which it is attached. Changing directions suddenly or pivoting sharply while playing sports are typical events that may cause this injury.

What do I do about my pained Achilles tendon? 

Our providers at Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey have several treatment options available for those dealing with the pain stemming from Achilles tendon injuries and disorders. After a thorough consultation with your provider, you will have a complete picture of your body’s needs through thorough testing. 

Once you receive your diagnosis, your provider works with you to choose your best option. Many patients with these types of injuries require little more than rest and gentle care of the ankle area. However, some patients require more invasive methods, with a round of physical therapy used as the last step of your treatment.

Achilles tendon issues are not only uncomfortable, but can be a prohibitive type of injury that uproots your daily life. Don’t suffer with pain in your legs. Schedule an appointment at our Cherry Hill, New Jersey, office or call us at 856-266-9572.

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