Choosing A Brace For Achilles Tendonitis
Considered as the biggest tendon in the human body, the Achilles tendon also happens to be the strongest as it can ably withstand the impact of a 1,000-pound object without being torn. Strangely, though, it also happens to be one tendon that frequently suffers from ruptures, many of these taking place in the region where it encases the Achilles bone, medically called the calcaneus. This particular area is extremely narrow and receives very little blood supply, so it should not come as a surprise that it is prone to injuries of every kind, with Achilles Tendonitis being the most notorious.
Achilles Tendonitis involves a painful Achilles tendon inflammation that can range in severity from shooting, burning, or the extremely intolerable piercing pain. Regardless of the kind of pain that it brings, however, Achilles Tendonitis is a condition that ought to be immediately treated once it is diagnosed because when left untreated, the condition can result to a weakening and eventual rupture of the Achilles tendon.
Often associated with athletes, Achilles Tendonitis can come about due to several factors. Over-pronation is one such factor, which usually results from prolonged walking, where the foot arch suffers a collapse due to continuous weight bearing, exposing the tendon to undue pressure.
Other factors known to contribute to incidences of Achilles Tendonitis include the improper selection of shoes to wear, inadequate warm-up exercises prior to doing strengthening exercises, and abnormal leg and foot structure, such as a relatively short heel tendon, and mutation of the affected bone. Regardless of the cause, though, Achilles Tendonitis usually attacks men in the mid-life age category who are athletic by nature. While this particular group of people is still muscularly strong, they are known to be gradually losing their flexibility, and basically unable to carry out sports activities the way they use to. Thus, injuries commonly occur, which can prove to be quite difficult to treat, especially with athletes who are generally reluctant at refraining from their athletic activities.
Generally, Achilles Tendonitis can still be effectively treated, just like the many other forms of tendon injury. However, since this particular tendon is located in an area that is used quite often, aggravations usually occur, resulting either in a partial or a total rupture, which can cause one to limp while walking as the attendant pain can generally be quite unbearable. In such cases, there are at least two treatment options available to the person suffering from Achilles Tendonitis. These are the surgical treatment and the non-surgical approach, both of which will require foot casting or the wearing of special braces, which can last for at least six weeks.
The surgical approach to treating the injury has been known to be generally more effective since the patient has relatively far greater chances of being able to get back to activities that he used to engage in prior to having Achilles Tendonitis. However, it also happens to be extremely costly. That is why many Achilles Tendonitis victims would rather opt for the non-surgical approach, which is actually meant for non-athletes like elderly people and those who have complicated medical conditions. Basically, the non-surgical approach involves using special braces, the sizes of which will usually depend on the ankle circumference measurement based on its narrowest point.
The braces can come in many forms, but usually, heel cups or heel cradles are recommended by doctors as these tend to minimize the attendant pain that Achilles Tendonitis brings. Ideally, the cup should be lightweight, but have shock-absorbing qualities. Additionally, an orthotic instrument may be suggested to prevent several incidences that tend to aggravate the injury from taking place, such as over-pronation.
Braces that come with silicone inserts are also ideal since these usually relieve the tendon of pressure and generally provides the aching part with the needed compression, thus aiding in inflammation reduction. Likewise, it is generally a good idea to settle for braces that are manufactured from breathable knits since these are capable of retaining heat, which can greatly help in reducing the swelling.
Several other factors should be considered when looking for a brace to support an injured Achilles tendon. Ultimately, though, what should be deciding factors are whether or not the brace that will be purchased anatomically fits the injured area and how effectively it can help in accelerating the eventual healing of the Achilles tendon.