If you experience inflammation and irritation down the back of your lower leg after exercising, you may have Achilles tendinitis.
Achille tendinitis is a painful condition caused by overuse of your Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and bears most of the stress it endures from walking, running, or jumping. But if you suddenly increase the intensity or duration of your exercise routine, you’re at risk for developing Achilles tendinitis.
What Causes Achilles Tendinitis?
On average, Achilles tendinitis occurs more frequently in men than women and in older people than younger people. Existing ailments like flat arches, obesity, tight calf muscles, high blood pressure and psoriasis contribute to the condition. Training in cold weather or in poor footwear can also increase your likelihood of developing an Achilles issue.
What are the Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis?
The trademark symptom of Achilles tendinitis is pain and stiffness on the back of either leg above the heel, where the Achilles tendon is located. It usually starts as a dull ache that can be mistaken as typical soreness after exercise but then advances to severe pain and swelling with continued use. If left untreated, the condition can lead to a thickening of the tendon and the formation of bone spurs (also called insertional tendinitis).
Can Achilles Tendinitis be Cured?
Fortunately, people who suffer Achilles tendinitis typically see results from simple, at-home treatment methods, including:
- Wearing supportive shoes, custom orthotics, or heel lifts
- Using a splint at night to keep your Achilles tendon in a stretched position while sleeping
- Utilizing the RICE method as needed: Rest/Ice/Compression/Elevate
- Taking an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen (Aleve) to relieve pain
If the condition persists after implementing at-home care, talk to your healthcare provider about other treatment options, such as, a referral to physical therapist, prescription pain medication, or surgical treatment.
How Does a Heel Lift Help Achilles Tendinitis?
Achilles tendonitis typically develops as a result of an excessive load on the tendon. Decreasing the load on the tendon can be achieved through the use of a heel lift. A lift in the shoe will help keep the hind foot slightly elevated—which shortens the tendon and the muscle—essentially reducing the range of motion needed to walk.
Our signature heel lift, the Adjust-A-Lift® Heel Lift, is a firm rubber insert designed for placement in the back of the shoe beneath the heel experiencing Achilles tendinitis pain. It raises the heel up to 3/8 of an inch inside the shoe to relieve stress on the Achilles tendon. It features a unique customization – the lift is made of three 1/8-inch peelable layers held together with double-sided adhesive. You can adjust to your preferred height by simply peeling off a layer of the insert. You can experience the relief from a heel lift in all kinds of weather, with or without shoes, by wearing our Adjustable Heel Lift Ankle Sock.
It’s important to note, that when using a heel lift for Achilles tendonitis, you should also use a heel lift in the shoes of the non-affected foot as well. Using a heel lift in only one shoe will cause a leg length imbalance, resulting in a risk for stressing the lower back, hip and knee.
The Adjust-A-Lift Heel Lift® comes in three sizes and costs $11.40 per individual insert. We also offer a discount for bulk quantities. Learn more and order your Adjust-A-Lift Heel Lift® on our website today to start finding relief from your Achilles tendinitis pain.