Swollen Achilles Tendon
Achilles tendon also referred to as Achilles tendonitis is a painful condition that is known to emanate from the swelling of the Achilles tendon muscles.
The Achilles tendon apparently is the strongest and largest tend in our bodies and it is commonly referred to as the heel cord. This disease is most common to athletes. As a matter of fact, almost 18% of the world’s serious athletes suffer this condition at least for once in their life.
Swollen tendon has the ability of progressing from the simple stage to acute if at all it is not properly treated. In the acute stage, the patient suffers painful joints and many times the entire affected leg becomes immovable. Professionals in the field advice that the disease is treated as early as possible to prevent is from graduating to a full blown life threatening state.
The symptoms of Achilles tendonitis
Swollen tendon effects are not felt in a one-off fashion. In the initial stages, the pains cannot be really felt but as time goes on, the affected person realizes that they normally experience pains on their joints and at times they cannot move their limbs.
The initial stage of the Swollen tendonis the Achilles injury. It is scientifically referred to as peritenonitis and usually does not show any symptoms. Normally the patient would feel pains on the affected area when they are carrying out a certain activity or just resting. Apparently, there are no visible changes that are notable on the affected area. The second stage is called the tendinosis. This stage now starts sending some signal of danger. The patient starts experiencing swelling and growth of tissue knots on the back side of the leg. When it comes to this stage, it is advisable to avoid strenuous activity as possible. It only aggravates the situation. If you involve yourself in high impact activity, the affected tissue might rapture completely. The rapture signifies the onset of the third stage which is also referred to as peritenonitis. The results are very severe. It leads to traumatic damage of tendons. This can totally impair movements and the patient might need to be bed ridden for some time to allow for recovery.
The main cause of Swollen tendonis not known. However, it is argued to be more pronounced in athletes who are poorly conditioned. However it is important to note that non-athletes as well are at risk of attack. It is mainly caused as a result of stress on feet among other physical and environmental factors.
The role of high-impact exercises
People who perform activities that involve much movement or rest of the body are mostly at risk of suffering swollen tendon. High impact activities may be playing basketball, dancing, jogging among a couple others. You might get away with the Achilles injury and get some treatment. However, if you do not find out that you are suffering swollen Achilles earlier enough, you might actually be more exposed and the situation might even become severe as time goes by. Use of unsuitable footwear and abrupt changes of muscle positions are known to be among the top contributors to the condition.
Role of congenital conditions
Someone may be born prone to this Swollen tendon condition. Probably, their feet might be moving more than is expected thus making the arch to flatten abnormally. Their legs also twist much than the normal legs do. As a result of this, the lower muscles of the leg tighten and stretch too much thus causing much stress on the Achilles tendon and subsequently causing the severe enemy – Achilles tendonitis.
About shoes and fit
If you like changing your shoes every now and then, try think twice. You are exposing yourself to Achilles tendonitis or swollen tendon. This mainly affects ladies who like switching between shoes with different heel heights. When someone wears high heels, over time, the tendons tend to adapt to relaxation. When one choose to switch abruptly to low heels or flat shoes, the tendons will be subjected to tension, trying to stretch in order to cover for the increased distance. This condition in this case will begin with impulsive inflammations.
How is this condition diagnosed?
The diagnosis process of swollen tendons begins with routine physical examinations and an understanding of the affected person’s history. They physical exercises include palpating, and measuring the degree of movements or displacement of the ankles, knees and the entire feet. The tow test can be conducted in synchrony or one of them might be applicable.
The Thompson test
This used for the detection of any chances of rapture on the Achilles tendon. In this procedure, the patient needs to lie on a bench or bed while facing downwards while bending the knees. The doctor then presses the back side of the foot. This is used as a diagnostic measure if the foot flexes in the Achilles tendon are partially damaged.
The imaging test
In severe conditions, the affected person might actually need to undergo x-ray, ultra sound or MRI scans or any suitable combination of these to find out the major cause and effect of the condition. X-rays are particularly important for the detection of swellings. On the other hand, the MRI scan is intended to detect partial raptures while the ultra sound is used for detection of the level of thickness of the Achilles tendons.
The first step in treatment of swollen tendons is to avoid any activity that is known to have caused the condition, be it strenuous exercise or extensive relaxation. A suitable home remedy for the condition is to put a block of ice with some soft cloth on the affected for about 20 minutes every hour to reduce the swelling effect. Apart from using ice to reduce inflammation and swelling you can place the leg in an elevated position, possibly a stool and then try and compress the affected area using a piece of cloth or bandage. If these home remedies do not get to work, many doctors recommend rehabilitation. Through rehabilitation, the patient has to perform consistent training and stretching especially to the affected area.
In the same effect of treatment, podiatrists also require that the patients make use of orthotics. Orthotics is special contraptions which help to control, correct and compensate for the impaired limb. Through the use of orthotics, the patient gets to maintain the foot alignment and the arch thus easing pain on the affected area over time.
When swollen tendons burst to chronic conditions, it can only be treated through surgery. The main function of the surgery is to remove the swollen tissue and then reattach the torn tissues. After the surgery, therapy follows to ensure that the affected area heals as desired. When the patient goes through all these successfully, they can get down to physical activities in about two months or so.
As with morton neuroma this condition can be very tricky to treat.. so make sure you do all your relevant homework before jumping (sorry for the pun) into any treatment.