If you are an active person who frequently uses your legs, your Achilles tendon may feel tight. Wearing shoes with elevated heels, where the heel is higher than the ball of the foot, can shorten the muscles in the back of the leg. This feeling can be replicated by pointing your toes down. While active, this happens naturally, but when it is from shoes, it is an artificial shortening position that can cause tightness. Toe springs in shoes elevate the toes, hold them there without natural engagement, and shorten the muscles from the top of the foot. When the muscle running along the outside of the shinbone is tight, the surrounding muscles tighten up and the Achilles tendon is less likely to stretch and contract fully. Walking barefoot can restore foot function, allow toes to spread out, and build stronger feet, but this has its disadvantages as well. Wearing minimalist or barefoot shoes are alternative options that can be considered. An effective way to prevent the sensation of tightness in the Achilles tendon area is to stretch the legs and feet each day. Rolling a massage ball from the top to the bottom just outside the shin bone is a myofascial release that can relieve tightness. Deep squatting, with or without a wall as support, can also help. If you have a tight Achilles tendon that persists, it is suggested that you visit a podiatrist who can help you with additional treatment options.
Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact one of our podiatrists of New York. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
What Is the Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can create immense difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.
What Are the Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?
There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common injuries are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.
Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms
- Dull to severe pain
- Increased blood flow to the tendon
- Thickening of the tendon
- Extreme pain and swelling in the foot
- Total immobility
Treatment and Prevention
Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation, which can include an MRI. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:
- Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise
- Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses
If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Ozone Park, and Manhasset, NY . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.