Night splint for Achilles tendonitis
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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Achilles tendonitis, is A MISNOMER. Most Achilles "tendinitis" is actually Achilles tendinosis, meaning there is degeneration of the tendon... not inflammation.
The Achilles is the largest tendon in the body and connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Many events may trigger an attack of Achilles tendonitis. These may be increasing the intensity of training, adding hill running or stair climbing to the routine, starting up too quickly after a period of relative inactivity, trauma caused by sudden contractures of the calf muscles, or overuse due to lack of flexibility in the calf muscles.
Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis may include pain after exercise, or morning tenderness where the Achilles attaches to the heel bone, or mild swelling.
Treatment usually involves rest, cross training with other activities that do not stress the Achilles, anti-inflammatory medications, heel pads, shoe inserts such as a heel lift, bandages or braces to restrict motion of the tendon, stretching, massage, ultrasound and exercises to strengthen the muscles in the front of the leg and ankle.
A night splint sometimes is useful. This is a device that is worn while a person sleeps that keeps the foot in a neutral position or slightly dorsiflexed posture. Thus, the Achilles tendon remains stretched while the person sleeps allowing
healing to take place. The night splint is an effective tool in treating Achilles tendonitis and it should be used until the condition is completely healed. The night splint is bulky, but it reduces the amount of time to healing.
A newer treatment for tendonitis may be more effective. Percutaneous needle tenotomy is a technique where a small gauge needle is introduced using local anesthetic and ultrasound guidance. The needle is used to poke several small holes in the tendon. This procedure is called "tenotomy." Tenotomy induces an acute inflammatory response. Then, platelet rich plasma, obtained from a sample of the patient's whole blood is injected into the area where tenotomy has been performed. Platelets are cells that contain multiple healing and growth factors. The result? Normal good quality tendon tissue is stimulated to grow with natural healing.
To learn more, go to:
Tendonitis TendonitisandPRP.com provides reliable, accurate, and useful information on tendonitis treatment written by a board-certified rheumatologist. Learn more about how to get tendonitis relief using the most up-to-date methods.
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