Over the years, I've had some on and off issues with my Achilles tendon. It flares up and I limp a bit. Then I get to hear a bunch of "The foot doctor needs a foot doctor" comments from my Houston podiatry patients. And honestly, I should know better.
After all, I speak about podiatry issues all across the country. (Thanks to my role in the American Podiatric Medical Association, or APMA.) Still, doctors make the worst patients. So to make up for my errors over the years, I'll share some information with you about this painful condition. (And other types of tendonitis that hurt your feet.) That way, maybe you'll avoid making the same mistakes as me!
Why Achilles Tendons are So Tricky to Treat
Once there's inflammation in your Achilles tendon, it doesn't take much to make it worse. In my case, something as simple as running through the Houston airport trying to catch my flight (Thanks TSA!!!) in shoes was a frequent trigger. By the time I'd get up to deplane at my connection, I was hurting. At that point, my only option was to shop the airport for some overpriced Aleve.
Of course, that was a temporary salve. But I knew that when I came home, I'd need more permanent help. As will most people with tendinitis. Here's the problem: it's hard to treat the Achilles tendon. Really hard. After all, oral anti-inflammatory medications are not always effective. Plus, we've got limits on we can inject into and around the Achilles tendon, too. For instance, we can never use a cortisone injection to treat the Achilles tendon. That's because of the risk that the injection would weaken and rupture your tendon. Now, restricting the motion around your tendon is another option. When my tendinitis gets bad, I wear a gauntlet ankle brace to give it some rest. I'll also use some topical Biofreeze to treat the tendon at the sight of the problem.
Then, if that doesn't work, a fracture walker rests it even more. Next up? Physical therapy and possibly some shockwave treatments. After those treatments, most people (even me) will lick their Achilles tendon pain. Sounds involved? Sounds complicated? Sound frustrating? It is! But that's the story with this part of your body. Treating Achilles tendinitis requires tremendous patience and strict adherence to the treatment plan. Not in the market for such an involved process? Not tow worry! Check out this homeopathic treatment option instead. It's proven to be effective at relieving Achilles pain, without creating the risk of a rupture!
Homeopathic Treatments for Achilles Pain
As a podiatrist, I went through rigorous medical training. So, I'm not always in favor of alternative medicine. But I've reviewed the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons' studies on Traumeel. (It's an anti-inflammatory medication that comes as an ointment, gel, tablet or injectable.)
Traumeel combines a number of homeopathic components to provide an anti-inflammatory effect. Many people who hope to limit their prescription medication use prefer this option. Because it's a more natural solution. And, studies show that Traumeel is a safe and effective alternative for a prescription topical NSAID.
For that reason, I've been able to use the injectable form of Traumeel with great success in my Houston podiatry practice. As I hinted at earlier, many physicians use cortisone injections when you've got soft tissue structure inflammation, such as a tendonitis. And, in most cases, it addresses and gets rid of that inflammation and pain.
But as I said before, you can't do that with your Achilles tendon. Even though it's one of the strongest tendons in the body, cortisone can weaken the tendon and cause a rupture. And I promise, that will be even worse than the intense back of heel and ankle pain you're already facing. That's where Traumeel comes in. In its injectable form, it's safe to use this non-cortisone homeopathic anitinflammatory around the Achilles tendon. All with no risk of rupture. In fact, its a great way to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with this stubborn and frustrating injury. You may even want to explore it with other forms of tendonitis in your feet.
You've got two peroneal tendons, and they run together along the outside of your a
nkle and foot. But they stop in different place. One ends in your midfoot; the other connects to the bottom of your arch.
And their job? They stabilize the joint below your ankle. This keeps your foot in line, so you don't get hurt by your ankle twisting inward.
Symptoms and Treatment
Peroneal tendonitis gives you pain on the outside of your foot or ankle. It's most likely to show up at the bottom of your fifth metatarsal bone. But it could also come from behind your ankle bone. And you may also notice swelling in the area.
Often, this tendonitis pain gets triggered when you're active. But some activities are worse than others. The biggest offenders include running or walking on uneven surfaces, or moving sideways.
I often see complaints of peroneal tendonitis when my running patients change their training patterns. That could mean switching your shoes, or adding miles or speed to your runs. Even running on a different surface could cause problems.
Your own biomechanics or medical history can also increase your risk. If you've recently sprained or injured your ankle, your peroneal tendons are more likely to act up. And, if your feet roll out when you walk or run (supination), it's also far more likely.
Luckily, we can manage those concerns with shoes and orthotics. Special motion control shoes can limit the rolling of your feet, which can limit stress on your tendons. Then, if you're still experiencing pain, we can always fit you for a custom orthotic.
Of course, these solutions may not solve your tendonitis pain immediately. But I've always got more tricks up my sleeve.
Want more creative solutions for nagging foot problems? Come see me at the first sign of discomfort! While it may take me a minute to treat my own heel pain, I always make relieving your discomfort my top priority!