The Achilles tendon is one of the most important tendons in the body, and it’s incredibly important to many of the mobility actions that people take for granted every day. It’s the achilles tendon that allows you to extend your foot and point your toes amongst other things, and this makes it very susceptible to injury, especially in athletes. In fact, it’s one of the most common types of tendon injury in both ameateur and professional athletes alike, and common causes include overuse and over extension. The tendon is located at the back of the ankle, just above the heel and extends all the way up to the calf, making it one of the longest in the entire body. The most frequent type of tendon injury that affects the achilles is tendonitis, a condition in which it becomes swollen and inflamed. However, in more extreme cases as is sometimes the case in sports injuries, the tendon may rupture or tear entirely which can be extremely painful. Regardless of injury type, there is no denying that discomfort is on the agenda if the achilles is affected. And during recovery, you should avoid the following 10 mistakes that are commonly made that can prolong the healing process or increase pain:
1. Returning to Physical Activity Too Rapidly: Rest is important in the case of a tendon injury, and while some physical activity is important to help promote healthy recovery, going back to regular activities may be too much too fast. It’s best to gently ease back into regular activities, particularly returning to sports, to prevent a worsening or recurrence of the tendon injury.
2. Wearing Challenging Shoes: Those stilettos might be calling your name from the closet, but they’re a terrible idea if an Achilles tendon injury is present. Improper footwear including those with heels, those that are too tight or restrictive or those that don’t allow the foot and ankle to move naturally are not appropriate during treatment for an injured tendon. What’s worse is that they can actually add symptoms such as leg muscle pain as it’s not uncommon to compensate for uncomfortable shoes by putting more weight on the unaffected leg while walking. It’s best to stick to shoes that are sensible, comfortable and don’t have a heel of any kind.
3. Not Using a Heel Lift: Although shoe choice as aforementioned is very important, there is one component of treatment for Achilles tendon injury that is often overlooked, and that is a simple orthopedic heel lift. The heel lift is an insert that goes into appropriate shoes that can help to take some pressure off of the affected tendon. This is especially useful in people who have flat feet that lack arch support. Regardless of what type of feet are involved however, using a heel lift is a simple and easy way to help reduce the symptoms associated with an Achilles tendon injury, and not using one is a mistake that might prolong recovery.
4. Not Icing: Applying cold to injured areas may be uncomfortable at first, but it’s an important step to helping control inflammation. As is the case with many different types of soft tissue injury, using ice can help to reduce inflammation and swelling which in turn can also help to reduce pain. This can be ideal for people who prefer not to use pain relievers or over the counter anti inflammatory products.
5. Not Protecting Your Tendon While You Sleep: For most people, nightly slumber involves a bit of tossing and turning with little regard for each individual part of the body and how positions may impact them. In the case of an injury involving the achilles tendon, one wrong move in the night can mean disaster in the morning. Some people find braces useful for this, as they can keep the foot and ankle positioned properly during sleep. Braces are used for a wide variety of purposes and can reduce muscle and joint pain and inflammation. It might be worth discussing with a healthcare provider if nighttime woes are re-aggravating an injury.
6. Not Stretching: Regardless of the type of injury, it’s incredibly important to stretch or warm up before almost any physical activity. This is because tight and tense muscles can increase the risk of damage and injury and certainly an increase in pain and discomfort if present. Most of the time, just a few minutes of gentle stretching can greatly reduce the risk of worsening an Achilles tendon injury. And it’s worth the time every time during the recovery process.
7. Not Maintaining a Healthy Diet: It may seem silly, but the body truly only puts out what you put into it. A wide range of nutrients including vitamins and minerals are incredibly important to the body’s ability to heal itself. And if it’s lacking in vital nutrients that are necessary for physiological repair, it’s not unlikely to reason that the recovery process may be extended. A healthy variety of fresh foods including produce, protein and dairy is best while recovery from an injury.
8. Not Staying Hydrated: Much in the way that diet is important to healing, so is staying hydrated. Water is important for every single function that they body performs. However it’s crucially important to the proper functioning of muscles. When muscles are not working to their full potential or are prone to cramping due to dehydration, the risk of furthering a tendon injury is heightened.
9. Not Considering Alternative Pain Treatments: There are some types of alternative treatments that have proven to be very beneficial in everything from soccer injuries to osteoarthritis in terms of providing pain relief, and it’s not a wonder that Cryotherapy Toronto based clinics are becoming more and more prolific. It’s because this decades old pain relief technology is making big waves in Canada, as well as other countries like the United States and Australia thanks to its success and popularity with athletes. The process employs the healing powers of cold by subjecting individuals’ skin to extremely cold air chilled with liquid nitrogen. The nearly side effect-free procedure is thought to relieve pain by numbing nerve endings. This, in turn, will prompt immune responses which can speed injury repair and promoting the physiological release of pain relieving chemicals like endorphins.
10. Not Eating Your Herbs: Long before modern medicine became the mainstream form of illness and injury relief, herbs and spices were the way in which just about every ailment was remedied. Although new information and insight has shunned many of the old timey remedies of the past, there is not denying that there are some plants that boast powerful chemical compounds that can reduce both pain and inflammation. Turmeric is perhaps one of the most well known and studied of these and it’s thankfully an easy spice to incorporate into cooking or to simply take orally. While it won’t provide immediate relief to a tendon injury, it’s anti inflammatory benefits are undeniable.