April 20, 2011The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone and facilitates the ability to rise up on your toes and push off when you walk or run. In fact, depending on the type and strength of movement, the Achilles tendon withstands up to 3-12 times a person’s body weight. Achilles tendon problems are most often caused by overuse or repeated movements which occur during sports work, or other activities. Repeated pushing off or stop-and-go motions when running or playing sports can cause microtears in the tendon. Achilles tendon tears are common in runners, but they can happen to anyone. The best way to avoid an Achilles tendon injury is to stay in shape, warm-up and stretch before your exercise regimen, and strengthen the Achilles tendons. Symptoms of problems include swelling and mild to severe pain. Treatments includes ice, relative rest, physical therapy and an anti-inflammatory. Recently, ginger has been used to reduce symptoms of Achilles tendonosis because it produces anti-inflammatory effects and has pain-relieving properties. Physical therapies include stretches and eccentric (calf lowering, rather than calf raising) strengthening of the calf muscles. Buying shoes with a good shock-absorbing capacity can also work wonders. Correctly fitting footwear is vital in the prevention of Achilles tendon injuries, assists recovery from Achilles tendon injuries, and helps in the prevention of reoccurrences of Achilles tendon injuries. Conversely, incorrect footwear increases the likelihood of Achilles tendon injuries, delays recovery, and increases the chance that the injury will reoccur. Remember, injuries vary dramatically in both their severity and the amount of damage done to other parts of the foot and leg. This is particularly true for crushing type Achilles tendon injuries, and a physician should be consulted. An Achilles tendon injury is a setback for any fitness regimen, relax, take care of it, and you'll be back in top form before you know it!
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