Achilles Tendonitis: Understanding and Overcoming the Pain

Feb 13, 2023

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Achilles tendonitis is a painful condition that impacts thousands of people each year. This blog explains how we treat Achilles tendonitis and how you can find the best pain-free shoes for your feet.

What is Achillies Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis is a common injury that affects the tendon connecting the calf muscle to the heel bone. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and is crucial for activities such as walking, running, and jumping. When this tendon becomes inflamed or damaged, it can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort.

The cause of Achilles tendonitis is often due to overuse or repetitive stress. This can occur in athletes who participate in high-impact sports such as running, basketball, or soccer, but it can also affect individuals who engage in less intense physical activity or who have poor biomechanics. In some cases, the condition may also be caused by a sudden increase in activity level or improper training techniques.

Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis typically include pain and swelling in the area of the tendon, tenderness when the area is touched, and a stiffness or reduced range of motion in the ankle. The pain may be felt as a dull ache or a sharp, burning sensation, and it may become more intense with physical activity.

Diagnosis of Achilles tendonitis is typically made through a physical examination and medical history review. Your doctor may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to rule out other potential causes of the pain.

Treatments and Prevention

Treatment for Achilles tendonitis typically involves rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications. In more severe cases, a doctor may prescribe physical therapy or prescribe a brace or orthotic device to help support the tendon. In some cases, a cortisone injection may be used to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.

If conservative treatments do not provide relief, more invasive procedures may be necessary. These can include extracorporeal shock wave therapy, which uses high-energy sound waves to stimulate healing, or surgery to repair the damaged tendon.

In order to prevent Achilles tendonitis, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and engage in regular physical activity. This includes stretching and warming up before exercising, gradually increasing the intensity and duration of physical activity, and using proper form and technique during exercise.

Finding the Right Shoes

It is also important to wear shoes that provide proper support and cushioning for your feet, and to avoid activities that put excessive stress on the tendon, such as running on hard surfaces or jumping. In this video Dr Scott Hanauer, Foot and Ankle Specialist, explains how to find good shoes for your feet. Click here to view the video.

It is important to find shoes that have:

  • Heel support - Shoes with a high, cushioned heel can help absorb shock and reduce the impact on the Achilles tendon.
  • Arch support - Shoes with good arch support can help to distribute pressure evenly across the foot, reducing the stress on the Achilles tendon.
  • Cushioning - Shoes with ample cushioning can help to absorb shock and reduce the impact on the Achilles tendon.

Dr. Scott’s favorite shoe brands for daily activities include Hokas, On Cloud, Asics. All have a great history of proper heel support. Dr Hanauer also recommends avoiding shoes with high heels, as they can increase the strain on the Achilles tendon. In addition, individuals with Achilles tendonitis may benefit from wearing shoes with a removable insole, as they can add additional cushioning or arch support as needed. At Garden State Pain and Orthopedics we offer custom orthotics that best fit your fit. Orthotics can help relieve foot and achilles pain. 

It is important to keep in mind that the best shoes for Achilles tendonitis may vary for each individual depending on the arch, width and length of the foot. If you experience pain from shoes it would be best to try a different pair.

If you experience pain or discomfort in the Achilles tendon, it is important to seek medical attention to prevent the condition from becoming worse. At Garden State Pain and Orthopedics Dr. Scott Hanauer will provide a personalized treatment plan to treat your foot and ankle pain. We offer minimally invasive treatments including orthotics, braces, and injections. For more serious cases we do offer reconstructive surgery. For more information about our foot and ankle treatments click here, or select “Book now” to schedule an appointment.