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Watch Out for This Common Overuse Injury

Last week, we wrote about the benefits of exercise – especially hoping to motivate anyone who’s spent the winter as a couch potato. This week, a specific word of warning: Don’t do too much too soon! The warmer temps of spring might make you feel like jumping off the couch and running a 5K, but you really shouldn’t don a headband and dash outside like some kind of ninja warrior. Rather, you should take your time and ease into your new exercise routine!

An injury to watch out for

Sports injuries often happen to those who suddenly put a lot of stress on their body. One of the most common injuries we see here at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center is Achilles tendinitis.  But a sudden increase in your activity isn’t the only reason for the Achilles tendon to become inflamed. Some other causes include

  • Bone spurs.These are outgrowths of normal bone. They frequently develop at the back of the heel, which is where one end the Achilles tendon is attached. A spurcan rub against the Achilles tendon and inflame it or even tear it.
  • A tight calf muscle. While one end of the Achilles tendon is attached at the heel, the other is attached to the muscles in the calf. Having a calf muscle that’s too tight can put more stress on the Achilles tendon.
  • Overuse. Too much of the same activity can irritate any number of structures in the foot or ankle, including the Achilles tendon.
  • Bad footwear– wearing the wrong shoesfor the type of exercise you’re engaging in.
  • Faulty biomechanics– something about your gait or the structure of your lower leg can cause inflammation.

How to recognize Achilles tendinitis

You can suspect that you’re injured your Achilles tendon if you have

  • Stiffness or soreness in the lower calf just above the heel, especially first thing in the morning.
  • Persistent pain and swelling in the tendon area.
  • Pain that worsens after exercise.
  • Difficulty flexing your foot downward or upward.

Any of these symptoms should prompt a call to our board-certified podiatrist, Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM. Dr. Wilhelm will tend to your Achilles pain using best podiatry practices that will have you feeling better as quickly as possible. Contactour Centreville, VA office online or by phone at (703) 996-3000.

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