Tendonitis is the condition resulting from the irritation or inflammation of the tendons (the thick cords that join the muscles to the bones). This condition causes pain and tenderness that makes it difficult to move the affected joint.
In relation to the foot, it is the Achilles tendon that can develop tendonitis thus causing pain along the back of the leg near the heel (particularly when taking the first steps of the day or after long periods of rest).
Common causes of tendonitis are excessive exercise or walking. It is quite common in runners, particularly if they’ve increased the intensity or duration of their runs. Other contributing factors include exercising without properly warming up; playing sports that require quick stops and changes of direction like tennis; wearing old or ill-fitting foot ware, and wearing heels for prolonged periods of time Rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes are also linked to tendonitis.
The most common symptoms of tendonitis are: discomfort or swelling in the back of the heel (particularly when walking or running); tight calf muscles; limited range of motion when flexing the foot; and the skin on the heel feels overly warm to the touch. Treatments for tendonitis can range from rest and ibuprofen, to steroid injections and surgery (depending on the severity).
Preventative measures can be taken such as: proper stretching of the calf muscles (both before and after a workout) to improve agility, easing into a new exercise routine with a gradual intensification of physical activity; reducing the heel size of a shoes gradually when transition from heels to flats and by cushioning the foot and providing arch support through the use of the Barefoot Science system.
The Barefoot Science system can assist as both a preventative and treatment measure. Barefoot Science promotes a balance of strength and flexibility in the foot and legs muscles that relieves tension on the Achilles tendon, protecting it and the calf muscles from injury.