There is no doubt that Achilles pain is amongst the most common lower body issues encountered by podiatrists and doctors. While this is the largest tendon in the body built to endure the pressures created due to activities like jumping and running it is also vulnerable to developing tendonitis due to degeneration and overuse.
The most common type of Achilles pain is the Achilles tendonitis, though, recently this condition has been referred as Achilles tendinopathy since it's been found that loss of fibre structure and tissue degeneration is the main cause of pain instead of inflammation. But still, the 'tendonitis' term is the most commonly used terminology, and it can either be chronic (taking place over a long time) or acute (occurring only for few days following training).
There are lots of symptoms of Achilles tendonitis, but the most common ones are stiffness and pain in tendon, particularly upon waking, ache in the heel or tendons that increases through weight-bearing activities, severe pain that occurs on the next day following physical activity. The growth of bone spurs as well as chronic swelling in the tendons which gets worse during physical actions or throughout the day.
If you feel a sudden "popping" sensation at the back of your heel, it could be an indication that your Achilles tendon has been ruptured, and this situation needs instant medical attention.
Usually, until and unless the tendon is torn, Achilles pain isn't caused by any particular injury; instead it is a result of continuous stress that depletes the tissue's health. When suddenly there is an increase in the level of physical activity, excessive stress is being laid on the tendon, also a change in shoes or training surfaces like running uphill (training on an inclined surface), over-pronation of the feet, bone spurs and tight calf muscles are all responsible for developing an aching Achilles tendon.
When suffering from Achilles pain one must take proper rest as it is the most effectual treatment for this condition. Combining rest with cold therapy is highly effective. After physical activity, ice must be applied whether there is pain or no pain. Making use of an orthotic device like heel pads will reduce the strain on tendon, mainly during the early stages of recovery, in case if the situation is critical wearing an immobilizing boot or a night splint may be required.
You may get a massage; improving the blood flow in this particular area is important for healing as the Achilles tendon has naturally restricted circulation. Often, relevant anti- inflammatories are useful but cortisal injections must be avoided since they tend to increase the threat of ruptured tendon.
It's necessary to wear shoes with adequate support and cushioning. High heels must be avoided, especially if there's acute pain. Stretch your calf muscles since tight calf muscles pull on Achilles tendon more intensely, which not only causes inflammation and pain but also leads to over-pronation of the feet. If you have tight calf muscles you can be caught within a vicious circle of Achilles pain since the tendons and muscles become tight causing imbalances and discomfort.