Thousands of New Yorkers have experienced the painful and symptoms debilitating symptoms associated with achilles tendinitis: pain when running or walking, swelling of the tendon, and pain along the tendon and heel that seems to get worse as the day goes on.
As experienced podiatrists, our goal is to help relieve painful symptoms and get you back to doing what you love.
Performance Footcare of New York Can Help Your Case of Achilles Tendinitis
Our treatment is based on the severity of your case and your lifestyle demands. We start with conservative recommendations and will move to more involved treatments as the need arises.
- First, cease all high impact activity until the acute inflammation dies down. If you need your cardio fix, look at other forms such as cycling (especially using a recumbent bike), rowing, and other forms of low-impact activity.
- Running or walking on softer or smoother surfaces.
- Stretching exercises
- Strengthening exercises with eccentric contractions of the Achilles.
- Heel lifts in the shoes
- NSAIDs (either topical or oral)
Doctor-Facilitated Non-Surgical Treatments
- Physical therapy - Performed in our office, this treatment works to rehabilitate the tendons and muscles associated, reducing pain and improving mobility.
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy - Using low-dose sound waves, the therapy incites an inflammatory response in the tendon, creating a healing cascade that causes the body to address and resolve the problem. This treatment offers:
- Non-invasive healing
- No anesthesia, incisions, or other concerns associated with surgical treatment
- High success rate (comparable to surgery) with no post-treatment disability
- Platelet-rich plasma injections - Using blood drawn from you body, platelets are separated from other cells using a centrifuge. The platelets are then mixed into a blood-solution and injected in the tendon, promoting healing and recovery. This procedure is most effective with chronic tendon injuries, such as Achilles Tendinitis.
- Amniotic stem cell injections - Stem cells are extracted from your hip area, combined with platelet rich plasma, and then are injected into the injured area. The stem cells encourage rapid recovery, reducing wait times for return to normal activity. This treatment is among the leading-edge of techniques available for Achilles tendinitis (it is also used for plantar fasciitis).
We are leaders in New York regarding minimally invasive surgical treatments for Achilles Tendinitis, performing two of the latest (and most effective) surgeries:
- Topaz coblation - More than 10 years of research and development have resulted in a surgery that offers excellent result with minimal side effects and post-surgery discomfort. The surgery takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. This procedure is focused on the scar tissue, promoting blood flow and healing. Recovery takes a few weeks (vs. a few months associated with traditional surgery) and has a success rate north of 80%.
- Tenex - This state of the art procedure is used to remove diseased/damaged tissue, helping restore natural tendon/soft tissue. It is performed using a local anaesthetic and generally takes under 30 minutes to complete. Recent studies have shown that this procedure is effective for achilles tendinitis (and also effective for plantar fasciitis).
What is Achilles Tendinitis?
Achilles tendonitis is inflammation along the Achilles tendon found on the back of the lower leg attaching the calf muscles to the heel bone.
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and is responsible plantarflexion of the ankle (causing the front of the foot to lower and lift the heel off the ground).
Achilles tendonitis is typically caused by overuse (running and jumping type exercises).
Symptoms & Causes
Achilles Tendinitis is usually caused by persistent overuse, which is why it is most commonly experienced by runners and other high-impact athletes (soccer players, etc.). Symptoms vary from patient to patient.
- Sudden increase in the amount or intensity of activity
- Tight calf muscles
- Running on hard surfaces such as concrete
- Running too often
- Frequent jumping activities (such in volleyball or basketball)
- Using shoes with improper support
- Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon in the morning
- Pain along the tendon or back of the heel that worsens with activity
- Severe pain the day after exercising
- Thickening of the tendon
- Heel bone spur (insertional tendinitis)
- Swelling that is present all the time and gets worse throughout the day with activity
How is Achilles Tendonitis Diagnosed
Typically only a physical exam and X-ray are performed to diagnose Achilles Tendonitis. In some more involved cases, Diagnostic Ultrasound and even an MRI may be warranted.
Exercises & Stretches That May Help Relieve Symptoms
Facing a wall, put your hands against the wall at about eye level. Keep the injured leg back, the uninjured leg forward, and the heel of your injured leg on the floor.
Both feet facing straight. Front knee bent, affected knee straight, rear heel locked against the ground. Slowly lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf.
Hold 3 times 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each leg.
Heel Calf Stretch
Stretching out the muscles in the lower leg is an integral step to recovery. There are two main muscles in the lower leg that attach to the heel, so we’ll work on stretching them both out.
Both feet facing straight. Front knee bent, affected knee straight, rear heel locked against the ground.
Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each leg.
Achilles Towel Stretch
Sit on a hard surface with your injured leg stretched out in front of you. Loop a towel around the ball of your foot and pull the towel toward your body keeping your knee straight.
Hold this position for 3 seconds then relax. Repeat 3 times. You should do this exercise 3 times per day.
Achilles Strengthening Exercise
Referring to as an eccentric exercise contraction.
Hang heel over the end of a step. With knees straight, raise up on healthy ankle. Switch to affected foot and ankle. Slowly lower in a controlled manner.
Perform 3 sets of 8 reps each.