Your Achilles tendon can support forces of 1,000 pounds or more, yet it’s frequently ruptured and is especially susceptible to painful problems like inflammation. The podiatrists at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers have helped many patients prevent progressive Achilles tendon problems and provide exceptional treatments like stem cell injections and EPAT shockwave therapy. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking feature or call one of the two locations in Arlington or Mansfield, Texas.
Your Achilles tendon is a thick band of connective tissue that attaches the bottom of your calf muscle to your heel bone. This tendon is strong and designed to endure extensive daily stress as it lifts your heel every time you take a step. However, it’s prone to inflammation due to overuse and degeneration.
Achilles tendonitis occurs when the tendon is inflamed. This problem is often caused by repetitive stress or when you suddenly change the amount of stress placed on the tendon by abruptly increasing the time or intensity of your activities.
You’re also at a higher risk for Achilles tendonitis if you start a new activity without stretching or wearing proper footwear, or if your foot tends to roll inward when you walk in a problem called overpronation.
The symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:
When Achilles tendonitis goes untreated, the problem may worsen. The ongoing inflammation gradually causes tissue degeneration and small tears develop in the tendon, causing a condition called Achilles tendonosis.
A rupture is a partial or complete tear of your Achilles tendon. Ruptures occur when the tendon is stretched beyond its tolerance. You can overstretch the tendon through forceful jumping, pivoting, or suddenly accelerating while running. While not as common, the Achilles tendon can rupture when certain medications, like steroids and antibiotics, weaken the tendon.
A ruptured tendon causes sudden pain, a popping or snapping sensation, and swelling. You may also have a hard time rising up on your toes or walking upstairs or uphill.
Your treatment is determined by the degree of tendon damage and how long you’ve had the injury. Whether you have Achilles tendonitis or a rupture, your doctor at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers always begins with the most conservative treatment, such as immobilization and ice to reduce swelling.
Your doctor may also prescribe orthotics to correct overpronation, and night splints to gently stretch the Achilles tendon while you sleep. Physical therapy is another important part of your treatment. You receive customized strengthening and stretching exercises and other treatments that promote healing.
The team at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers also offer two innovative therapies: stem cell injections and Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT®). When your doctor injects adult stem cells near the damaged tendon, they trigger the production of new tissues, while EPAT uses pressure waves to boost blood flow and speed healing.
When conservative treatment fails to heal the tendon or relieve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery to restore the tendon.
At the first sign of an Achilles tendon problem, call Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers or book an appointment online.