Lots of the activities we do require us to be on our feet and be able to spring into action, even walking. It doesn’t always feel like you are “springing” because you may have pain in your feet, ankles, or knees.
You may also feel like you’re just pounding on the ground as you walk. But “springing” is likely what you are still doing if your ankle anatomy is largely intact. The springing action your ankle is built for is what you want to promote more of if you want to walk much easier without pain.
One of the biggest springing forces in your ankle comes from your large ankle tendon called the Achilles tendon. It is poised to spring you forward with little input from your muscles during your normal everyday walking motion.
The problem that leads to painful walking and losing that spring in your step is when you repeatedly strain or overexert the tendon while walking. This can lead to a condition called Achilles tendonitis or inflammation of the Achilles tendon.
Achilles tendonitis is a common condition among runners and other athletes; however, any person who just shifts their daily habits a little bit may experience tendonitis of the Achilles tendon. Often this occurs if the body is not ready for a new type of movement because of joints being jammed in the ankle, foot or knee or because of a lack of flexibility in the leg muscles.
Common Causes of Injury that Affects Walking
The most common cause of injury to the Achilles tendon is simply due to repeated or overexerted use that leads to strain of the tendon. Strain means the tendon gets small tears which can lead to a buildup of scar tissue which threatens to reduce your flexibility for good.
A strain in your tendons (like the Achilles) starts gradually and it is usually felt as minor twinges to a stiff/painful sensation that emanates from the back of the heel to the calf. Common causes leading up to the injury include:
- Repeated and sudden ankle, knee, hip and back use that you are not prepared for (Your body isn’t ready- you haven’t stretched or gotten the necessary chiropractic adjustments that reintroduces the proper motion in the joints so you move better)
- Direct trauma to a muscle or tendon
- Wearing inadequate footwear
- Supination (when the foot rolls outward) and over-pronation (when the foot rolls inward)
- Being overweight
- People suffering from diabetes, arthritis, and gout are at greater risk of Achilles Tendonitis along with other conditions that can affect walking
If Walking Hurts Right Now:
The best treatment options include keeping your body flexible as well as reintroducing good ankle, knee, or hip motion into your joints through chiropractic adjustments.
- The work you can do to improve it: To improve flexibility you need to dedicate a couple of minutes a day for a few days to stretch your ankles, hips and calves. You can stretch your calves by bending your ankle and using a large exercise band to pull your forefoot and toes up so they’re pointing towards your face.
- The instant improvement: Improving your ankle joint movement can be instantaneous when you get an adjustment from your Chiropractor. You can feel and see the benefits right away.
- If you are injured: Make sure you get plenty of rest throughout the healing process. You’ll need to rest the injured area by refraining from exercise that puts strain on the tendon. This rest period usually lasts for a few weeks but it could be longer based on the severity of the injury. If you have injured a tendon or muscle and the pain is severe, you may also apply ice to the tendon or area that hurts for approximately 20 minutes at a time. This is useful especially after any exercise or feelings of pain.
To manage pain, it’s important to make sure you know what your diagnosis is, for example, that it is in fact Achilles tendonitis rather than something else like a small fracture. Once you have a diagnosis, the best treatment methods can be given as well as prevention steps for avoiding future episodes of pain or injury.
How to Make Walking Easy
It is possible to prevent Achilles Tendonitis and make walking easy- the number one method is to stretch and get motion into your ankles and legs prior to any ‘out of the norm’ day where you know you’ll be taxing your ankles and feet more. Chiropractic adjustments give an instantaneous burst of motion that just feels right. Arch supports and heel cups can also help keep your foot in proper alignment thus alleviating strain on the tendon.
Depending on the severity, problems such as Achilles Tendonitis can take just a few weeks or several months to heal fully. It’s important to seek proper care otherwise you could end up with chronic ankle pain or stiffness. If you’re on the mend from an Achilles injury or concerned about falling victim to such an injury, contact Dr. Nicole Muschett for a complimentary Foot, Ankle, and Knee Pain Consultation today.