The largest tendon in the body, the Achilles tendon connects your calf muscle to your bone. When this important tendon experiences degeneration due to wear and tear over time, the condition is called Achilles tendinitis. The main symptom of Achilles tendinitis is pain along the back of the leg, near the heel.
Depending on which part of the Achilles tendon is wearing and tearing the most, a person may have one of two types of Achilles tendinitis. The first is called noninsertional Achilles tendinitis, and it affects the middle portion of the tendon. According to experts, this form of Achilles tendinitis tends to be seen more frequently in younger people who are fairly active.
The other form this condition can take is called insertional Achilles tendinitis, and it affects the area where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone. Experts report that this type of Achilles tendinitis can happen at any time, even if a person is not very active. The damaged tendon can harden, or calcify, in either form of Achilles tendinitis. However, in cases of insertional Achilles tendinitis, bone spurts, or extra bone growth, may also occur.
Fortunately, there are several noninvasive methods for dealing with Achilles tendinitis. One such method is the use of foot orthotics, and a foot orthotic that can lift the heels is a popular design for the treatment of this condition. By positioning the foot in a way that raises the heel, foot orthotics can ease strain on the Achilles tendon. Also, lifting the heel can help prevent the sore Achilles tendon from rubbing against the back of the shoe and further increasing irritation.
When using foot orthotics to help deal with and alleviate Achilles tendinitis, your health care professional may also suggest devices that provide extra cushioning to the heel. Creating a softer place for your heel within your shoes, this type of foot orthotic also can help to relieve the pain associated with Achilles tendinitis.
Along with the use of appropriate foot orthotics, your health care provider may also recommend several other methods for dealing with this painful condition. Slowing down and possibly completing stopping the movements that may have caused the condition in the first place is a logical first step. You may also be advised to switch from high-impact to low-impact exercises, along with icing the tendon, taking anti-inflammatory medication and engaging in prescribed exercise and stretches.