Q. I have had pain in my left Achilles for more than two months. It hurts most when I wake up in the morning and after I walk for exercise. It loosens up during the day and does not bother me as much. I tried not walking for a couple weeks but it did not improve the pain. I also took Ibuprofen and it helped a little. I am frustrated as it really bothers me and is not getting better. What should I do?
A. There are three calf muscles that join together to form a thick tendon that attaches to the back of your heel, the Achilles tendon. These muscles help you flex your ankle downward. Repetitive stresses over a long period of time may result in inflammation of the Achilles tendon that can cause pain, stiffness and weakness.
Even in young patients, the Achilles tendon has a poor micro circulation and is slow to heal when it is injured. I recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon or foot specialist to confirm the diagnosis and begin treatment to get you better. Treatment options may initially include anti-inflammatory medication, stretching exercises, physical therapy, heel lifts and night splints. Proper warm-up and stretching exercises before you walk or run may help to prevent reinjury when you are better.
Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net.