Ruptured Achiles Tendon: Prevention and Treatment

The Achilles tendon is the strong band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. This lower leg tendon enables you to walk, jump, stand on your toes and climb stairs. You rely on it virtually every time you move your foot.

When the tendon is stretched beyond its normal capacity, a complete or partial tear may occur. Most Achilles tendon ruptures occur as a result of sport-related injuries when forceful jumping or sudden accelerations of running overstretch the tendon and cause a tear. Individuals with Achilles tendinitis — weak and inflamed tendons — are also more susceptible to tendon tears.

Signs of a torn Achilles tendon include:

  • Sudden, sharp pain in the back of the ankle and lower leg
  • Snapping or popping sensation at the time of the injury
  • Swelling down the back side of the leg or near the heel
  • Difficulty walking or rising up on the toes

The best treatment for a torn Achilles tendon is prevention. Avoiding this injury could save yourself months of rehab and extended time away from your game. Help prevent injury to your Achilles tendon by:

  • stretching your calf muscles regularly
  • limiting hill running and jumping activities that place excess stress on the Achilles tendons
  • resting during exercise when you experience pain
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • alternating high impact sports, such as running with low-impact sports, such as walking or biking
  • wearing appropriate, supportive shoes with proper heel cushioning

If you suspect a ruptured Achilles tendon, visit our practice as soon as possible. Until you can seek professional care, avoid walking on the injured tendon and keep it elevated. Ice the affected area to reduce pain and swelling and if possible, wrap the injured foot and ankle. For partial tears, swelling and pain may be less severe, but prompt treatment should still be administered.

Treatment for an Achilles tendon rupture can be surgical or non-surgical. Surgery to reattach the tendon is generally recommended, followed by rehabilitation, especially for individuals who want to return to recreational sports. Our pracitce can evaluate the severity of your tear and suggest the best treatment plan. With proper care, most people return to their former level of performance within six months.

Precise Foot Evaluation with Computerized Gait Analysis

Treating an array of problems of the foot and ankle at our practice, we put the best of technology to work in diagnosing many biomechanical injuries and abnormalities that cause pain and discomfort when walking or running.

After extensive research and new advances in podiatric technology, there are now faster and more accurate ways to asses a patient’s feet and administer the most appropriate treatment. In fact, many foot problems can be treated most effectively by addressing their mechanical function, and at our practice, we offer our new Computerized Gait Analysis technology that helps us identify biomechanical faults faster and more accurately than ever.

Assessing Your Gait

Our Computerized Gait Analysis is an advanced method used to assess the way an individual walks or runs to highlight biomechanical abnormalities. While many of these common problems are treatable with modern medicine, assessing motion, and more specifically how you walk, has always been limited until the recent development of the Computerized Gait Analysis.

The Procedure

A Computerized Gait Analysis uses pressure mapping technology to identify pressure points in the feet as a patient walks or runs. We can observe and analyze the way an individual moves, looking in particular at the feet, ankles, knees and hips to determine the problem. This can then be relayed to a computer screen where slow motion and freeze frames can be used to carefully assess your running or walking style. By assessing the condition in the actual environment that causes that particular problem, we can actually identify what is happening while you walk and give you the best treatment for your condition based on this data.

By analyzing the mechanics of a patient’s stance, postural alignment, and flexibility of the hips and back, recommendations can be made for orthotics, shoe modifications or a course of physical therapy designed to strengthen core muscles. Many times, with the right treatment, surgery can be avoided, thus diminishing the recovery time from a variety of injuries or disorders. With the new foot pressure measurement technology, our office can identify foot abnormalities more accurately than ever before.

Improve Your Game-Sports and Your Feet

When it comes to exercise, your feet are one of the most overlooked parts of the body, enduring tremendous strain and stress during a hard workout. It’s no surprise that an athlete’s foot and ankle are prime candidates for injuries. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), poor foot care during physical activity is a contributing factor to some of the more than 300-foot ailments.

The following tips may help prevent foot and ankle injuries to keep you in the game.

Get a check-up

Visit our practice and your regular physician before starting any sport or fitness activity. This should include a complete foot and physical exam. During a foot exam, a podiatrist can identify whether your previously injured ankle is vulnerable to sprains, and recommend supportive ankle braces for increased stability.

Pre-workout warm up and stretch

Jogging before a competition or workout can help reduce the risk for foot and ankle injuries by warming up muscles, ligaments, and blood vessels. Proper stretching before beginning a workout is also important. When muscles are properly stretched, the strain on joints, tendons and muscles is greatly reduced.

Treat foot and ankle injuries immediately

It’s possible to injure bones in the foot or ankle without knowing it. What may seem like a sprain at the time may actually be a fracture. See a podiatrist at the first onset of ankle pain. The sooner you start treatment, the better your chance of preventing long-term problems like instability, and the sooner you can get back in the game.

Wear shoes specific to your sport

Different fitness programs require different footwear. Wearing the appropriate type of athletic shoe for your unique foot type and needs can help prevent foot problems while keeping you at your best performance. Remember to replace old, worn shoes in order to ensure optimal stability and support.

Pay attention to what your feet are telling you and remember to rest and consult our office when you first notice pain. Exercising is a great way to stay energized and fit, but if you’re neglecting the health of your feet, you may be setting yourself up for serious injury.

Foot Scanners for Custom-Fit Orthotics

Your feet are the foundation of your entire body, supporting you when you stand, walk and run. But when your feet are functioning poorly, signs and symptoms of altered biomechanics usually result in pain, instability, and poor performance.

The good news is that a custom-made orthotic can relieve your chronic foot pain by supporting the bone structures of your feet, allowing these structures to work together properly. Orthotics help correct structural problems and conditions such as heel pain and plantar fasciitis; arch pain; pain related to diabetes or age; and many other foot pains related to bunions, sprains, and other conditions.

State-of-the-Art Foot Scanners

Now when patients come into our office, we can use our state-of-the-art foot scanner to provide a dynamic, biomechanic assessment of the foot. Our new foot scanning technology offers precise mapping of the contours of the feet, resulting in a more accurate orthotic fitting for each patient. The process is extremely fast and accurate. Using this advanced technology, we can create the most comfortable and suitable solution for the correction of your feet.

If you are experiencing foot pain or instability, visit our office for a thorough biomechanical assessment. After an evaluation of your foot, we can use our advanced foot scanning system to manufacture the best orthotic specifically for you and your feet.

If your feet hurt, your entire body hurts. Our goal is to design and fabricate the most effective custom orthotic devices to help relieve your pain and get you on the road to recovery!

Cryosurgery for Fast and Effective Heel Pain Relief

When your feet hurt, your entire body hurts, especially when you’re suffering from painful neuromas or heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Generally, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy or orthotics can effectively treat the pain. But when these conservative treatments aren’t enough, chronic heel pain may require surgical treatment.

At our practice, we can treat irritating heel pain and get you back to your active lifestyle quickly with a new, fast-acting procedure known as Cryosurgery. For decades, this technique has been used for various areas of the body and is now proving to be very successful at helping treat and manage foot and ankle conditions.

The Procedure

Also known as Cryotherapy, Cryosurgery is a minimally invasive procedure performed comfortably in our office in just one appointment to alleviate pain and nerve problems of the foot.

Using localized freezing temperatures to deaden the irritated nerve, the treatment involves inserting a probe into the tissue of the foot. The extreme freezing temperatures produce an anesthetic effect, reducing inflammation to the site and causing a mild “numbing” effect for as long as it is applied. The freezing inactivates the nerve and, as a result, painful nerve irritation is relieved.

Benefits of Cryosurgery include:

  • Painless procedure
  • Use of local anesthetic
  • In-office performed procedure
  • Minimal to no downtime from walking, work, and other activities
  • Decreased use of pain medications that can cause complications
  • No stitches, hospitalization or sedation are required

Cryosurgery has proven to be an effective and popular alternative for treating many chronic and painful foot ailments that involve irritation of an isolated nerve of the foot. If you’re looking to get rid of your heel pain, but haven’t had much success with conservative treatments, visit our office and find out if you are a good candidate for Cryosurgery.

Shockwave Treatment

If you are one of the millions of Americans that suffer from chronic heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis, then you know just how unpleasant this very common foot condition can be. Plantar fasciitis is the most common form of heel pain, and it occurs when the long, flat ligament on the bottom of the foot stretches irregularly, developing small tears. As a result, the stretched tissue becomes tender and inflamed, making everyday tasks and activities difficult and painful.

At our practice, we’ve helped numerous patients overcome their chronic heel pain with conservative treatments, including anti-inflammatory medications, stretching exercises and orthotics. For some patients, however, these treatment options are ineffective or provide only temporary relief. So now we offer a new and advanced treatment for chronic heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis — Shockwave Therapy-a fast and gentle alternative to other invasive and risky surgical procedures.

The Procedure

Shockwave Therapy from our office is a non-invasive surgical procedure that involves directing strong sounds waves to the affected area, penetrating the heel and stimulating a healing response by the body in the affected non-healing tissue. The sound waves break up the tissue, creating small tunnels through which new blood vessels can grow, and the increased blood supply allows the tissue to heal. The result is a reduction in inflammation and pain from the affected ligament.

The outpatient procedure performed in our office is quick and safe. Patients experience a short recovery period, often with few or no side effects. Most patients notice pain relief instantly, but for others, the full results from a single treatment may be experienced within one to three months.

Benefits of Shockwave Therapy:

– Reduces inflammation and stimulates a healing response in the injured tissue
– Fewer side effects compared to surgery
– Quick recovery time
– Risks associated with surgery and general anesthesia are eliminated

Contact our office today to receive more information about Shockwave Therapy. Once we’ve assessed your condition, we can help you determine the most appropriate treatment for your plantar fasciitis- and this mean putting an end to your heel pain once and for all.

Preventing and Treating Ankle Sprains

An ankle sprain is one of the most common injuries to the ankle, resulting from a fall or a sudden twist that forces the ligaments out of their normal position. It’s no wonder so many athletes suffer from ankle sprains every year.

The severity of an ankle sprain depends on whether the ligament is stretched, partially torn or completely torn. Look for the following symptoms if you think you have sprained your ankle:

  • Immediate pain at the site of the tear
  • Immediate swelling
  • Hearing or feeling something tear, pop or snap during the twist
  • Bruising
  • Pain and difficulty moving the ankle
  • Inability to walk or bear weight on the ankle

Treating your ankle sprain

Early treatment of a sprained ankle can improve the recovery time and minimize symptoms. The following steps will reduce swelling and help alleviate pain until you can get into our office.

  • Rest: Stay off your ankle as much as possible. This will ease pain, as well as reduce the swelling.
  • Ice: It’s critical to ice your injured ankle throughout the day for the first 24 hours or until the swelling goes down.
  • Compression: Elastic wraps, such as an ACE bandage, will help reduce swelling.
  • Elevation: Rest with your ankle above the level of your heart to keep swelling to a minimum.

Preventing injuries to the ankle

With extra care, you can help avoid ankle injuries.

  • Wear appropriate shoes for each activity
  • Throw out old, worn out shoes
  • Be cautious of wet, slippery floors at work or at home
  • Wear ankle braces or have your ankle taped during sports activities for increased stability

If you’ve injured your ankle and are experiencing pain or difficulty walking, come into our office for an examination and proper diagnosis. If an ankle sprain is not treated promptly with the necessary attention and care, chronic problems of pain and instability may result. Our podiatrists can recommend a treatment plan based on the severity of the sprain to ensure proper healing and a fast recovery.

Alleviating Painful Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle

With age, it’s not uncommon to experience pain and stiffness in your feet and ankles.  Carefully monitoring your pain is important, however, as this noticeable discomfort could be an early indication of a more serious condition known as arthritis. Arthritis is a group of conditions that typically involves pain and inflammation in the joints.  There are many types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis being the most common form.  Left untreated, pain caused by arthritis will get worse, eventually leading to a joint weakness that can interfere with the most basic daily activities.

Arthritis can have a serious impact on the structure and function of your feet and ankles. See a podiatrist if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Chronic pain or tenderness
  • Limited mobility or motion
  • Stiffness early in the day
  • Changes in skin, including growths and rashes

Whenever you notice a change in your lower extremities, contact our podiatrists at our practice for a thorough evaluation. When detected early, proper treatment can slow the development of arthritis and get you back to your active lifestyle.

Treating Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle

Our practice can help you determine the best treatment option depending on the type and severity of your arthritis.

Treatment options include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections for the joint
  • Shoe insets, pads, braces or arch supports
  • Physical therapy and exercise
  • Custom-designed shoes
  • Weight management

When arthritis doesn’t respond to conservative treatment, surgical intervention may be considered as the last resort.

A thorough evaluation of your health and type of arthritis will allow our podiatrists to recommend the best treatment plan for you. Arthritis is a disabling disease, but with early detection, you can help manage the pain associated with arthritis of the foot and ankle and maintain a healthy, fulfilling life.  Allow our podiatrists to assess your foot and ankle pain and get you back on your feet.

Prevention and Treatment for Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body, located in the back of the lower leg and connecting the heel bone to the calf muscle. This tendon is crucial as it facilitates walking and running by helping to raise the heel off of the ground.  While the tendon can withstand immense force, it’s also surprisingly vulnerable. Injuries to the Achilles tendon require prompt treatment.

When the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed from excessive use, tendonitis can weaken it over time and cause small tears. Athletes are at a high risk for Achilles tendon injuries, which often occurs at the start of a new exercise or training program, or due to not having enough rest or recovery time.

You don’t have to be an accomplished athlete to suffer an Achilles tendon injury. People with flat feet, arthritis and other foot problems are also more susceptible to develop Achilles tendonitis due to increased demands placed on the tendon when walking.

Common symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:

  • Mild pain after running or exercising that intensifies gradually
  • Localized pain along the tendon, especially after running
  • Tenderness near the heel bone, with pain being worse first thing in the morning
  • Stiffness and limited range of motion in the lower leg and ankle
  • Swelling around the tendon
  • When the disorder progresses to degeneration, the tendon may become enlarged and develop nodules in the area where the tissue is damaged

To prevent injuries to the Achilles tendon, strengthening and stretching the calf muscles through daily exercise is recommended.  Alternating intense exercise with low-impact workouts and wearing proper shoes for your foot type and activity can also help reduce your risk for injury.

Any time you experience pain, tenderness or swelling along the Achilles tendon, visit our office for professional diagnosis and treatment. Treatment for an injured Achilles tendon should begin right away with rest, ice, compression and elevation.  Without prompt care, Achilles tendonitis will get progressively worse, thus increasing the risk for further deterioration and rupture.  As a last resort and when other treatments fail, surgery may be recommended to repair the tendon.

The professional podiatrists at our office can provide the best diagnosis and treatment for optimal recovery.

5 Ways to Soothe Tired Aching Feet

It’s not uncommon to experience foot pain after a long day of work or a vigorous sport activity, especially as we age. A long day of shopping or yard work can leave feet tired, heavy, swollen and achy- a problem we can all relate to at one time or another.

Achy Feet Factors:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Dehydration

Causes
When you are constantly on your feet, a significant amount of stress is put on your legs and feet. Strenuous walking or standing for long periods has an obvious effect on your feet. Other factors include ill fitting, poorly padded shoes, tight socks or stockings and tight garters. Reduced blood circulation to the ankles and feet also causes tired aching feet.

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Tired, Aching Feet

There are ways to relieve pain associated sore feet and legs.

1. Elevate your feet for 15-20 minutes.
2. Soak your feet in warm water or warm a towel with hot water and wrap it around your feet and legs.
3. Massage your feet or have someone massage your feet for you.
4. Exercise your feet, as it can help to keep them healthy – it tones muscles, helps to strengthen the arches and stimulates blood circulation.
5. Wear Orthotic insoles in your shoes. Ask a podiatrist at Main Line Foot & Ankle Center if an orthotic device is a good fit for your lifestyle

When foot pain persists, it’s important to visit Main Line Foot & Ankle Center for a thorough examination. The cause of your foot pain may be more serious than simple stress and over work. Your podiatrist can identify serious problems and work with you to determine a treatment plan that will put an end to your tired, achy feet once and for all.

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We look forward to seeing our patients!