Chronic Achilles Tendinosis Treatment
Your Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It is also the body’s strongest tendon. Thanks to the Achilles tendon, it is possible for you to flex your foot, run, walk, jump, climb stairs and stand on your toes. Chronic overuse of the Achilles tendon can result in a condition called tendinosis.
Tendinosis involves the deterioration of the structural protein known as collagen. When the collagen in the Achilles tendon begins to break down, you may feel pain and experience restricted movement. The tissue in the tendon degrades when you have tendinosis.
Treatment of chronic tendinosis works to reduce pain, prevent further injury and replenish collagen within the tendon. Home care is also part of treatment. That includes:
- Allowing the tendon time to rest
- Taking breaks every 15 minutes or so when participating in repetitive activities
- Applying ice to the affected area throughout the day for 15 -20 minutes
- Wearing a brace or wrapping the affected tendon
- Performing stretching exercises to strengthen the calf and leg muscles
- Increasing circulation to the area and reducing the risk of shortening muscles by rotating the foot through its natural range of motion
- Eating nutritious foods, especially those containing vitamin C, manganese and zinc to aid in the production of collagen
Tendinosis is not an inflammatory condition, but rather one of tissue degradation. The anti-inflammatory medicines used to treat tendonitis will actually hinder healing with tendinosis because they may inhibit the repair of collagen.
Causes of Tendinosis
Chronic overuse of the Achilles tendon can result in tendinosis. Tendons do not get much blood supply. This makes healing a longer process than with other parts of the body. When there is repetitive activity involving the Achilles tendon, the stress can cause microtears which do not have a chance to heal sufficiently. This stress will eventually cause tendinosis.
Risk Factors for Tendinosis
There are some risk factors that increase your chances of developing this condition:
- Age can play a role. It is more likely to occur in middle-aged or older people
- Exercise is a factor when you do not get enough rest between sessions
- Untreated tendonitis
- Poor footwear
- Tight calf muscles
When you work to eliminate or reduce your risk factors, you also lower your chances of developing tendinosis.
Weakening of the Achilles tendon due to tendinosis can lead to a rupture of the tendon. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an injury or when you experience ankle pain. Dr. Stuart Mogul has over 25 years of experience and is an expert in the field of ankle and foot surgery. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.