How Much Do You Know About Achilles Tendon Pain and How Your Body Works?
Ah the achilles tendon, often associated with achilles tendon pain, discomfort, and bed-rest. If this seems like an odd question to ask, it probably is. After all, who really spends that much time trying to find out how the human body works? Or how it can be damaged, or how it can recover from that? Our lifestyles leave us with precious little time to reflect on virtually anything of import, let alone something as seemingly seamless and well-integrated into our daily living experience as our body’s many complex inner workings and systems. However, should something take away that functionality, it can be quite daunting to consider how to continue on. It is then that we come face to face with the staggering true importance of knowing how the body functions.
One body part that never really gets our attention despite its constant utility and function is the foot. Do you how your ankles work to sustain and transfer your entire body weight above it? What about how your toes bunch up or separate depending on the related need to shift weight and provide more support by covering more ground? The ankle is one of our body’s many joints, which themselves are fascinatingly complex and yet sensibly-designed. The bone that form the main basis of the parts of the joint meet at a junction, and have their ends covered by layers of cartilage that keep the bone tips from rubbing up against each other. The bones themselves are linked to the muscles that generate movement, thanks to tendons and ligaments.
- The Achilles tendon, for example, is found connecting the heel and the calf. Its prominence in assuring proper foot and ankle movement – providing the “push-off power” for walking and running – is seconded by its mythological prominence as the main weakness of Greek hero Achilles, for whom the tendon is named. Achilles tendon injuries tend to be common, sadly, due to the constant use that this tendon undergoes. One such common overuse injury is Achilles tendonitis, an inflammation of the joint at the tendon that is most commonly experienced by runners (estimated to be 11% of all running injuries) but can be experienced by anyone who overuses the tendon due to work or other activity. Fortunately, while potentially quite inconvenient, this malady is also easily dealt with using home cures.
- Achilles tendonitis tends to manifest as tenderness and pain in the affected area. The inflammation that gives the condition its name can be quite troublesome and painful, starting with a mild ache in the back of the leg that can worsen to episodes of more intense pain. Stiffness in the area, especially in the morning, can be somewhat common as well. Achilles tendonitis can be dealt with using the usual joint injury methods.
- Rest – as with most other joint injuries, giving the joint time to heal without exertion is often valuable to getting it to recover quickly. Stay off the affected ankle when you can; this can be comparatively easier at the end of the day, when most work is done and going from place to place can be avoided. You’ll need to do this so that the tendon can recover from the strain that caused the tendonitis to begin with. While you won’t always have the option to remove activity entirely, reducing it will help nevertheless.
- Ice – chilling the inflamed tendon is a natural step toward recovery. Cooling it down can benefit you twice over – first, the cold will numb the nerves in the area, and thus help reduce the pain that the injury brings. The cold will also bring the swelling down by leading the inflamed portions to contract – more important than you realize, because the inflammation can actually result in more damage caused to the area surrounding the tendon. The joint doesn’t need to be on ice all day long, but giving it a regular icing will help.
- Compression – wrapping the inflamed joint will help reduce the swelling, as long as you don’t wrap too tight and end up causing more pain. Secondly, the wrapping can also help keep the tendon from sustaining too much impact.
- Elevation – keeping the blood from flowing to the inflamed joint might be a difficult proposition if the joint is at the bottom of the body under normal circumstances. However, when seated or giving it rest, one can elevate the joint to slow the blood flow to the inflamed joint and thus reduce swelling.
Achilles Tendon Pain – Seek Doctor’s Opinion
It might be a good idea, depending on your situation, to go to a doctor and get a prescription for medication. Your doctor should approve any painkillers or NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that you plan on taking. Do not self-medicate, because you might end up with medication that does not agree with your system – resulting in some unfortunate side effects, from headaches to bleeding.
Achilles Tendon Pain Solutions – Natural Home Remedies
To add to these ways of helping prevent pain from Achilles tendonitis, you can even try natural home remedies.
1. Castor Oil This remedy is a popular one for a variety of ailments. Castor oil is a triglyceride that is almost entirely made of ricinoleic acid, which acts as an effective anti-inflammatory agent. Castor oil can be applied to the inflamed area in order to relieve pain and help reduce inflammation.
2. Vitamin E Oil A fat-soluble antioxidant, Vitamin E oil helps remove free radicals from the body, thus helping bring the pain down a bit. The oil is also known to support circulation, which is another way to relieve inflammation.
3. Turmeric Also recommended quite often for many joint ailments, turmeric contains the compound curcumin, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. There are many preparations available for taking turmeric: it can be made into a tea, mixed into a poultice, or applied as a paste to the site of injury.
4. Reducing pectin Pectin is a hidden source of MSG, which can aggravate joint conditions. Reducing the pectin in your diet or eliminating it entirely can go a long way toward preventing joint pain in general. Did you know that common table salt is typically made with a flowing agent, which is MSG?
5. Fish oils These tend to have very strong anti-inflammatory properties; believe it or not, they have even been compared to Ibuprofen in terms of effectiveness. Many tend to recommend fish oil instead of taking ibuprofen-based medication (Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs can interfere with repair of tendinopathy and tendinosis).
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