Running or jogging is a great way to stay in shape, improve functioning of all physiological systems and could help reduce your risk for Alzheimer's, dementia or other age-related cognitive problems. Unfortunately, runners may occasionally overdo it by running too much, running too hard or wearing improperly-fitted shoes.
An Achilles strain is a common condition treated by chiropractors at Geaux Chiro and can even affect people who do not regularly jog. You could strain your Achilles tendon by wearing high heels, having flat feet or taking medications like glucocorticoids or certain antibiotics that break down and weaken tendon tissue. A strained Achilles tendon can occur when running or walking uphill, exercising vigorously on a hard surface, rapidly climbing the stairs or trying to carry heavy objects from one area to another. Abruptly increasing your speed while running or not properly warming up muscles before engaging in physical activity may also strain your Achilles tendon.
What is the Achilles tendon?
Tendons are tough slivers of tissue that connect muscle to bone. They interact seamlessly with muscles to produce movement. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body and connects calf muscles to your heel bones. Without an Achilles tendon, you could not walk, jump, stand on your toes and, of course, run. It is also one of the strongest tendons as well, possessing the capacity to withstand extreme, repetitive forces as experienced when participating in long-distance running and jumping activities.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendon Strain
The Achilles tendon can suffer sprains, microscopic tears or ruptures. If you are running and experience an Achilles tendon rupture, you may actually feel a tear or "snap" in your calf, followed by abrupt, severe pain in the area of the tearing sensation. Pain from a simple Achilles strain may not be felt until the following day, when you get out of bed and feel stiffness and pain worsen as you stand upright or walk. Bruising does not generally emerge with this type of strain, but minor swelling may occur at the site of the injury.
Another, less obvious sign of a possible Achilles tendon strain is the development of new callus patterns or blisters on your feet. This could be a warning sign that your feet are working harder than they should be to support your body while you walk, run or jog. If you are unconsciously compensating for an Achilles tendon strain, you might see calluses or blisters emerge under your big toe or along the sides of your feet.
Treatments for Achilles Tendon Strain
Ice packs are the favored treatment for runners suffering from Achilles tendon sprains. Taking anti-inflammatory, over the counter medication such as ibuprofen reduces swelling and pain. More importantly, staying off the tendon and avoiding activities like running or stair-climbing facilitates healing of the tendon.
Chiropractic treatment for an Achilles tendon strain at Geaux Chiro not only ensures the strain heals properly but can also help reduce the risk of suffering repeated injury to the tendon. Active Release Therapy (ART) is the recommended treatment for Achilles tendon strains and sprains, an advanced type of deep tissue massage that reduces soft tissue inflammation, promotes healing and removes stress on nerves and joints. Our chiropractor licensed to perform ART manipulates the Achilles tendon to dissolve scar tissue created by acute injury, micro-traumas and age-related deterioration of soft tissues. In addition, ART promotes release of chemicals and nutrients made by the body that are conducive to healing damaged tissues.
Neglecting to treat the underlying reason for an Achilles tendon strain could result in an Achilles tendon rupture requiring application of a cast or even surgery if the rupture is severe enough. A tendon rupture occurs when the tendon is completely ripped away from the bone to which it was attached. Intense pain, significant swelling and inability to place weight on the affected foot are signs of a possible Achilles tendon rupture.
Call Geaux Chiro to Schedule an Appointment for Achilles Tendon Strain Treatment
Our chiropractor will examine your foot and lower leg, evaluate your symptoms and perform some tests to determine if you have an Achilles tendon sprain. Contact us today to make an immediate appointment.