A sore Achilles heel is caused by a strain of the Achilles’ tendon, which is the longest tendon in the body. It connects muscle to the bone on the back of your foot and can become strained or torn due to over exertion or trauma, and frequently occurs after heavy exercise such as running or hiking.
You will feel pain and tightening of the Achilles’ tendon and a resulting loss of flexibility and movement of your foot. Often, the back of the ankle will swell and knot up and turn a reddish color.
But the most unmistakable sign will be the acute pain that you feel when putting any pressure on your heel. Achilles tendinitis is often extremely painful, even when simply resting in bed.
The Achilles is notorious for taking a long time to heal, so prepare to be patient during the healing process. Sometimes the strains can take months to fully heal, and can seemingly go away only to reappear again during times of strenuous exertion.
The best course is to simply rest your feet and allow the tendon time to heal. Any strain put on your Achilles’ will only serve to aggravate and tweak your strain. Try to avoid climbing stairs because that puts great pressure on your Achilles’ tendon.
Your doctor can prescribe muscle relaxers, anti inflammatory, and pain medication to help you deal with the stiffness and soreness. He may also ask that you wear a soft cast, or walking boot to help immobilize the tendon and reduce the risk of further strain.
Hot and cold treatment may also be used on the area. Ice packs can be applied to reduce swelling, and soaking the heel in a hot bath can also do wonders.
The amount time it takes for sore Achilles heel to go away will range from several days to several months. Because the foot gets less blood flow than the rest of the body, it tends to heal much more slowly.
Before undertaking any physical exertion, always stretch your muscles properly to increase their flexibility and range of motion. Gradually increase your level of exertion to give the muscles and tendons a chance to warm up, as this will reduce the risk of a strain or tear.