Do Orthotics Help with Achilles Tendinitis?
Many conditions can occur with the feet that may cause discomfort and pain if you are not careful with how you walk around and how many activities you can do during the day. These can range from mild discomfort to a lot of pain depending on what is wrong with the foot.
One of the conditions that can cause a ton of pain if you do not treat it properly is known as Achilles tendinitis. Luckily, custom orthotics can be the solution you are looking for to take care of this problem and feel much better. Let’s look at this condition and learn how orthotics can make a big difference.
What is Achilles Tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis is a condition where there is inflammation and irritation in the Achilles tendon, which is the large tendon that will attach the calf muscles to the heel bone. In everyday life, you utilize the Achilles tendon to stand on the balls of your feet, run, walk, and jump. When you overuse the area or damage it in another manner, it often causes Achilles tendinitis.
You could suffer from two main types of Achilles tendinitis. These will include
- Non-insertional Achilles tendinitis: This is going to include some small tears that happen in the fibers of the middle of the tendon. This is most likely to happen to younger adults who tend to be more active.
- Insertional Achilles tendinitis: This is going to include the lower portion of your tendon where it will attach to the heel bone. This will affect those of any age and can include those who are not as physically active.
There are some great home treatments you can use to help relieve your pain and handle the issues with Achilles tendinitis. If the home treatment doesn’t seem to do the job the way you would like, then you need to talk to your doctor to get it healed before the tendon ruptures or bursts, which will require some surgery.
What are the Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis?
The main sign you are dealing with Achilles tendinitis is that there is pain and swelling in the back of the heel, especially when you run or walk. You may notice your calf muscles are tight and you have a limited amount of motion when you flex the foot. Some other symptoms you may notice with Achilles tendinitis include
- Pain in the heel or some tenderness in the calf when you move or touch it.
- Thickening of the Achilles tendon
- Difficulty if you need to stand on the toes
- Warmth along the tendon or around the heel
- Soreness or stiffness of the Achilles tendon when you wake up
- Limited range of motion when you try to flex the foot
- Discomfort or some swelling in the back of the heel
You will often feel more than one of these symptoms when Achilles tendinitis is present. You will need to do some home remedies or talk to your doctor to ensure you are taking care of the tendon. Custom orthotics may be the solution to help keep the tendon safe and ensure the damage doesn’t get worse.
What Can Cause Achilles Tendinitis?
The most common cause of Achilles tendinitis is the overuse of the tendon when you exercise. The Achilles Tendon can also start to wear out the older you get. In some cases, older adults will start to experience tendonitis due to arthritis. Some of the other common causes of Achilles tendinitis include
- Doing intense exercises without a good warm-up first
- Straining the calf muscles when you do a lot of repetitive motions
- Wearing high heels often, for long periods
- Wearing old or poorly fitting shoes
- Suddenly increasing the amount of physical activity you do without allowing the body to adjust
- Running too far, too intensely, or uphill too often
- Playing sports that will require you to make stops and change directions quickly, such as the case with tennis This type of motion can be hard on your feet if you are not careful.
You need to take the time to take care of the Achilles tendon so that it will not wear out and cause more damage along the way. By warming up before a workout, changing your exercise program, and just stretching and being careful, you can cut down on how much damage and wear and tear you do on the tendon.
Ruptures of the Achilles Tendon
Although ruptures of the Achilles tendon are common, if you hear a “popping” sound in your calf, it is strongly suggested to seek immediate medical attention. Your physician can perform the “Thompson Test,” in which they will squeeze the calf muscle to see if your leg automatically contracts and your foot flexes. If your leg doesn’t move, you have likely ruptured your Achilles tendon.
Not all hope is lost, as the Achilles tendon is the most commonly ruptured tendon of all, and as seen above there are many precautions that can be taken to prevent future injuries to the Achilles tendon. Fortunately, there are many non-invasive treatment options if the condition is caught early enough.
Can Orthotic Insoles Help with Achilles Tendinitis?
Injuries to the Achilles tendon are common for runners and anyone who is going to participate in repetitive jumping sports, like volleyball and basketball. Once the Achilles tendon is injured, you may find some of your daily activities uncomfortable and painful. There are a few solutions to help with this, but custom orthotics are one solution that is effective without surgery.
With the right custom orthotic, you can reduce some of the strain your Achilles tendon will feel when you work out. Once your feet have time to adjust, you can continue with your daily activities while giving the tendon time to heal and not get worse overall.
How Do Custom Orthotics Work to Help With an Achilles Tendon Injury?
Custom orthotics can help your Achilles tendon by improving the function of the foot, optimizing the movement of the joints, and providing support to your foot. All of these can be useful when you have an injury and you need to allow the tissues of the foot and heel time to recover.
Many doctors will agree that using custom foot orthotics can reduce some of the strain that is placed on the Achilles tendon by controlling some of the excessive movements that can cause torque or excessive load on the tendon itself. Providing proper shock absorption through custom orthotics and a good pair of shoes can help reduce the stress on the tendon.
When the tendon is strained and not feeling great, you need to reduce the stress on the Achilles tendon. Custom orthotics can provide that relief, shifting the body’s weight to other parts of the foot and giving them the help they need to feel a little bit better too.
What are Some Other Treatment Options for Achilles Tendinitis?
Although custom orthotics can do wonders for your feet and prevent injuries such as Achilles tendonitis, there are many other measures to heal or prevent Achilles tendonitis that can also be utilized.
A physical therapist can suggest to you a mixture of helpful treatments. They can teach you how to correctly wrap your feet with compression wraps, help you develop a low-impact exercise routine, and show you the best stretches for your lifestyle. Many physicians will also prescribe or suggest night splints to treat Achilles tendinitis, and a physical therapist will show how they are to be worn, and how to use them while still sleeping comfortably.
Remember to Use “RICE”
“RICE” is an acronym that stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For most ailments of the body that have something to do with aching muscles with a small amount of swelling, this is usually any physician’s first instinct.
Rest– Take some time to slow down and relax your feet and legs, even if that can only be a few minutes of bench-sitting, or a short water break that you can sit down, your body will thank you. Sometimes we don’t think about the fact that we may have been on our feet too long, and probably need some rest, however, by just sitting down a little more each day, many injuries to the feet and legs could be prevented.
Ice– Icing the area can be helpful in reducing inflammation and pain. This works by constricting the blood vessels around the affected area. With that being said, it is suggested to only ice the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, and to wait for a minimum of 35 minutes between intervals if you have not been seen by a physician directly.
Compression– Compression socks or compression bandages are suggested for muscle fatigue after workouts, but what some people may not know is that they are only meant to be worn for 3 to 4 hours at a time. That being said, it is very important to not wear them to bed, as you may lose blood flow to the area, in which the compression device can quickly become a tourniquet. Compression socks and wraps are beneficial for muscle cramps and pains but need to be used somewhat modestly.
Elevation– To achieve the proper result, when you recline or lay down, bring your legs up so that they are elevated just slightly above your heart. A pillow placed under the legs may come in handy for this. There is some difference in opinions on how long this should be maintained, but it is suggested to start with 20 minutes twice a day. You can do this for up to 1 hour, 3 or 4 times a day, if needed to reduce calf pain.
Relieving Existing Achilles Tendinitis
There are a few different methods you can try to help prevent the problem with your Achilles tendon ahead of time. You can be careful with the exercises you do with the foot and do proper stretching ahead of time. But when you already suffer from Achilles tendinitis, you need to take the time to find support to keep the tendon safe.
One of the best ways to protect your Achilles tendon is to work with a good pair of orthotic supports. These will provide some relief to those who have Achilles tendinitis, preventing the tendon from being extended all the way. Without a custom orthotic, you will end up stretching out the tendon too much while you walk, which can cause more pain than before.
Raising the heel a bit through a good orthotic will allow it to feel more comfortable compared to having the foot rest flat inside of the shoe. Custom orthotics will allow you to put the foot right where you need to relieve the tendon and put pressure on other parts of the foot. You can make a custom orthotic to ensure that it is designed right for your unique foot.
Creating a good pair of custom orthotics does not have to be difficult. With the right doctor, you will do a scan or an impression of your foot. This can be sent in to create a custom orthotic that will align with your foot perfectly, no matter what foot problem you are dealing with. This will relieve all of the pressure and pain in your foot, giving you some relief too!
Getting Professional Help with Custom Orthotics
Custom orthotics can help with a wide range of foot conditions you may suffer from. With the help of the right pair of custom orthotics, you can provide some relief to all areas of the foot, including those that need assistance from Achilles tendinitis. With a good pair of custom orthotics, you do not have to live with the pain any longer.
Our team of professionals can work with you to create the perfect pair of custom orthotics for your needs, giving you some of the relief you need to feel amazing and resume your normal day-to-day activities. Give us a call or leave your information so we can help with your foot pain issues.