Thursday, February 11, 2010

Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis

Right shoe can protect Achilles tendon -
Sports Injuries -prevent injuries - Brief Article

USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education), Feb, 2002

Athletes who experience painful Achilles tendon injuries could prevent them by being more careful when selecting athletic shoes, according to Michael K. Lowe, a foot and ankle surgeon in Salt Lake City, Utah, and team podiatrist for the NBA's Utah Jazz. "Athletic shoes that bend in the midfoot area lack proper support and put more pressure on the heel and Achilles tendon. If you can bend a shoe in the middle, it shouldn't be worn for any sport that requires running or jumping."

The Achilles connects the calf muscle to the heel bone and is the largest tendon in the body. Injuries occur when it is stretched excessively, causing severe inflammation or a tearing or rupture of the tendon. "When the middle of the sole in an athletic shoe collapses, the pressure is transferred from the midfoot area to the heel, which can stretch the Achilles tendon too much," he points out. "Eventually, Achilles tendonitis will result or, worse, a rupture that requires surgery."

Lowe says that excessive wear weakens midfoot support, so athletes should replace worn shoes on a regular basis to reduce injury risk. "Runners, for example, should replace their shoes every 350 to 400 miles."

The warning signs of Achilles tendonitis are pain and swelling in the tendon area following exercise. It usually worsens over time, and often the leg will feel stiff or tired. Achilles tendonitis can be treated with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory drugs. If symptoms persist, a consultation with a foot and ankle surgeon will determine the extent of the problem and the potential risk for rupturing the tendon. In many cases, orthotics are prescribed to provide additional support and protection for the heel area. Surgery, however, is the primary treatment for repairing a ruptured Achilles tendon, and recovery from this procedure is slow and requires extensive rehabilitation.

In addition to selecting the proper footwear, Lowe suggests other precautions athletes should take to reduce their risk for Achilles tendon injuries: "Stretching and walking are strongly advised before any strenuous exercise, and those who are beginning an exercise program should gradually increase the difficulty of their workouts to allow the calf muscles to adjust and become more flexible."

COPYRIGHT 2002 Society for the Advancement of Education
COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

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