Your Achilles tendon, which runs from your calf to your heel, is the largest tendon in your body, and you rely on it to walk, run, and jump. Because it gets so much use, Achilles tendon injuries are common, and these injuries can greatly interfere with your everyday life. If you’re experiencing calf pain, board-certified podiatrist Thomas Lim, DPM, can help you heal at The Sunset Foot Clinic in Los Angeles. Book an appointment online or over the phone. The clinic has eight convenient locations throughout Silver Lake, Beverly Hills, Sherman Oaks, Northridge, La Palma, Whittier, Ontario, and Downey, California.
Your Achilles tendons are the largest tendons in your body and run down your lower leg, connecting your calves to your heel bones. You rely on your Achilles tendons for a lot: when you point your foot downward, rise on your toes, or push off your feet. When you play soccer, basketball, or tennis, your Achilles tendons allow you to quickly change direction, slow down, or speed up.
Your Achilles tendons are durable and can absorb the shock of running and jumping. Still, because you use them a lot, including in high-impact exercise, they’re likely to get injured. Usually, you injure your Achilles tendons when you go past your physical limits or perform activities you’re not used to.
One of the most common injuries to the tendon is Achilles tendinitis, an overuse injury that causes chronic inflammation. It’s common among distance runners and middle-aged people who only play sports on weekends.
Achilles tendon issues are more likely if you:
In addition to overuse injuries, you can suddenly injure your Achilles tendon, including tears and ruptures. Often, this happens when you land awkwardly from a jump.
The telltale signs of an Achilles tendon injury are pain and stiffness in your calf. The pain and stiffness are usually there when you first wake up and get worse with exercise, or even if you have a normal, non-strenuous day. Remember, you need your Achilles tendons to walk, so if it’s injured, even everyday mobility becomes difficult and painful.
Other common symptoms include:
If you ruptured your Achilles tendon, you may have felt or heard a pop in your calf at the time of your injury.
Be sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lim if you feel any continued pain in your calf or heel. He can use imaging tests, such as an X-ray or ultrasound, to detect and diagnose the condition and pinpoint the exact location of the injury.
It’s important to rest your injured Achilles tendon so it has a chance to heal. Putting more pressure on it can worsen your injury. To help you manage the discomfort, avoid exacerbating the injury, and promote healing, Dr. Lim may recommend:
If conservative treatment isn’t effective, or you have a serious injury, Dr. Lim may recommend surgery to repair the tendon.
Don’t let pain or stiffness in your calf or heel wait. Schedule an appointment at The Sunset Foot Clinic online or over the phone.