In ancient mythology, the hero Achilles was dipped in the River Styx to made him invincible – except for the back of his heels where he was held by his mother.
That’s why we have an Achilles tendon, and even for non-Greek mythical heroes, it’s a vulnerable spot in our feet.
So, if you’re planning to start up your exercise again this weekend, take care of your tendons with our top tendon care tips.
What are tendons?
Our tendons are the thick bands of tissue that connect our muscles to our bones, so if they are inflamed, we cannot flex our muscles properly. Achilles tendinitis, or an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, is a painful condition that often happens as a result of injury or over-use. Needless to say, tendinitis often happens when we go from winter inactivity to spring time exercise, especially amongst those ‘weekend warriors’ who sit at desks all week and go flat out all weekend!
The symptoms include pain when you move that affected muscle group, and the tendon itself may also swell. If you have tendinitis, you should stop playing sports or taking exercise, and rest your feet and ankles as much as possible. Apply an ice pack for up to 15 minutes, three or four times a day, to the affected area.
The five day rule for healing
Now here’s the important part: if your tendon is still sore after five days of rest and ice treatments, come and see us at Hunt Footcare as soon as possible. Tendinitis can quickly turn from a minor condition to a chronic problem, so the sooner it is treated, the better.
Our expert team will give your feet a thorough examination, and may even suggest further scans to ensure that the underlying cause is not something more serious, such as a fracture or a torn tendon. We may also suggest the use of custom orthotics in your shoes, which will align your feet and reduce your chances of straining your tendons again.
Stretch to protect
One of the easiest ways to prevent tendinitis is to gently stretch your muscles before exercising, especially if you have flat feet or suffer from arthritis. These stretches warm up your tendons and muscles so they are ready to work, and it’s just as important for gardeners and weekend cyclists as marathon runners and professional tennis players.
Also, don’t expect your tendons to go from zero to (Greek) hero instantly. If you signed up for that 5K run but haven’t done any running since high school, or haven’t played soccer since last Fall and have a match coming up, build up gradually to prevent tendon damage and other injuries early in the season.
How Hunt Footcare can help
If you have any concerns about any aspect of your foot health, just make an appointment at any of our three Ontario foot clinics – we’re happy to help.
- London Foot Specialists (519) 432 3636
- Ingersoll Foot & Ankle Clinic (519) 485-1750
- Stratford Foot & Ankle Clinic (519) 271-8834