The Achilles tendon, one of the longest in the body, stretches from your heel to your calf muscles. You can feel the springy band of tissue at the back of your ankle and above your heel. The tendon allows you to extend your foot and point your toes to the floor. Tendinitis, a condition that causes inflammation, swelling, and pain in a tendon, leads to many injuries to the Achilles tendon. Severe Achilles tendon injuries, caused by too much force on the tendon, include partial tears and full ruptures. Most injuries to the Achilles tendon present pain along the back of your foot and above your heel, especially when stretching your ankle or standing on your toes. Tendinitis typically begins with mild pain or discomfort that worsens gradually. If you rupture or tear the tendon, pain can be abrupt and severe. Other symptoms of an Achilles tendon injury include:
The Achilles tendon can be injured during a variety of activities, from wearing high heeled shoes, or from repetitive use or pressure on the tendon. Patients with flat feet are more likely to develop an Achilles tendon issue because the lower foot arch pulls on the tendon. When the muscles of the calf and leg are tight, they will pull on the Achilles which can lead to pain and injury. Achilles tendon injuries are also common sports injuries because of the repetitive strain and the sudden movements and directional changes.
While most injuries to the Achilles tendon heal on their own with rest, Dr. Polun may suggest laser treatments to provide pain relief while healing the tendon and surrounding muscles. Laser treatment stimulates circulation in the treated area, which brings much needed oxygen and nutrients to the injured tendon and surrounding tissues. The improved circulation stimulates the body’s natural healing process. The laser treatment relieves inflammation and swelling, which provides the immediate pain relief that patients with painful injuries are looking for.