Achilles contracture is a condition that is typified by a permanent and long lasting contracture of the Achilles tendon that is present at the back of your leg. Achilles tendon contracture is the shortening of the Achilles tendon which causes immense pain and strain in the foot along with restricted ankle dorsiflexion.
The symptoms are excruciating when one is bare feet or wears low shoes. This happens due to the shortening of the Achilles tendon which by and large occurs because one wears very high heels.
Causes And Symptoms Of Achilles Contracture
The following are the most commonly seen causes for Achilles tendon contracture:
- Achilles tendon contracture may be a congenital structural abnormality.
- It could be a muscular reaction to poor posture which is usually long drawn out, particularly in women wearing high heeled shoes and in joggers who land on the balls of their feet rather than on the heels.
- Paralytic conditions of the legs, such as cerebral palsy and poliomyelitis are important causes as well.
Achilles Contracture Symptoms
The Achilles tendon contracture s characterized by:
- Cannot put the heel on the ground.
- Pain at the back of the heel. Excruciating, sporadic pain during dorsiflexion of the foot is the characteristic feature.
- Swelling and inflammation.
- Reduced range of foot movement.
Treatment Options For Achilles Tendon Contracture
- Physical examination and patient history will confirm Achilles contracture. While the individual keeps his knee flexed, the doctor will place the foot in dorsiflexion, a slow extension of the knee forces your foot in to plantar flexion.
- Initially, the doctor may recommend ice application to allay any swelling.
- Achilles tendon contracture is managed by elevating the inside heel of the shoe; and heel lifts (orthotic devices – used on both sides to prevent a posture and walk imbalance). Progressively lowering the heel of the shoes (sudden lowering will worsen the condition), and stretching exercises, if the cause is high heels.
- Using support braces or cast to prevent foot drop in a paralyzed person. Alternative therapy consists of wedged plaster casts and stretching the Achilles tendon by manipulation.
- Pain killers will be prescribed to allay pain. You may also be given NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Surgical intervention – tenotomy may be recommended by your health care provider as well, though this procedure could weaken the tendon. Surgery permits further stretching by cutting the tendon. After the surgery, a short leg cast maintains the foot in 90-degree dorsiflexion for about 5 to 6 weeks. Some surgeons may permit limited weight bearing on a walking cast after 2 to 3 weeks.
- Most importantly, you need to steer clear of all aggravating activities, but with minimum of rest in order to sustain your overall fitness and mobility.
- Increased warm-ups / stretching exercises must definitely be done to ensure no damage to the tendon.
- Physiotherapy proffers wonderful results; confer with a physical therapist and schedule yourself for 10 to 12 sessions.
- In certain cases, if your health care provider considers it necessary, he may prescribe steroidal medications too; they help deal with the pain b
- Topical laser treatment has been advocated as well; however, there’s no clear indication of the benefits from this.