Tendons carry a lot of weight. That also means when they get injured, you definitely feel their loss. Your Achilles tendon is one of the most powerful tendons you have. It connects the calf muscle to your heel bone, and handles all the pressure of pushing your foot off the ground when you walk, run, and jump. Common Achilles tendon issues can sharply limit your mobility and make even walking uncomfortable and difficult for you.
Why Your Achilles HurtsYour Achilles tendon is a crucial member of your body when it comes to your mobility. The tendon pulling on the back of your heel bone is what makes it possible for you to point your foot and push off the ground. Because of all the daily strain on the tendon, however, it can be quite prone to overuse and even traumatic injuries. Overuse is the most common Achilles tendon issue. It develops when the connector is handling more than it is currently able to support. Typically, this happens when you try to do too much too soon, like jumping into activities or sports without conditioning your lower limbs first. It can develop from simply not allowing your feet to have enough rest as well. Worse, the damage from overuse weakens the tissue over all and makes it more likely your Achilles will suffer traumatic damage later.
Most Common InjuriesThere are a few particularly common Achilles tendon injuries that result from either overuse or a sudden accident:
- Tendonitis – This is inflammation in the tendon. You may notice pain when you try to use your Achilles that tends to get worse until you rest.
- Tendinosis – This is an issue with degeneration in the Achilles. Areas of the tendon will swell, thicken, and stiffen. This makes using your Achilles—particularly stretching it—very uncomfortable. You may see swollen areas behind your ankle or notice the tendon is sensitive to touch.
- Rupture – This means the partial or complete tear of your Achilles. This can happen suddenly to a mostly healthy tendon by forcefully pushing off the ground or landing a jump incorrectly. However, it can also be the result of sudden strain on a tendon weakened by tendonitis or tendinosis over time.