Muscle & Tendon Conditions: Frequent Questions

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  • How do I know if I have Achilles tendinitis or a tear?

    Most often, Achilles tendinitis comes on gradually, mainly because of overuse. Repetitive stress on the tendon causes it to become irritated, inflamed, red, and tender to the touch. The discomfort worsens with activity, especially running and jumping, and makes even walking difficult. Rest, ice, and stretches are usually enough to find relief.

    An Achilles rupture, on the other hand, often happens suddenly and causes extreme, sharp pain. You may even hear a popping sound or feel it snap. Most times, you will not be able to bear weight on your foot, and your calf will be affected as well. It is difficult to stand on your toes or bend your foot downward. Surgery is typically necessary to restore strength and function.

    If your Achilles tendon is bothering you, it’s best to make an appointment so we can assess the problem and get you on the right treatment plan. Call our Round Rock or Cedar Park, TX office by dialing (512) 593-2949. 

  • What is the difference between tendinitis and tendinosis?

    When you have pain in a tendon, “tendinitis” is often used as a catch-all term to describe what you’re going through. However, that may not technically be the case. A more accurate general term for tendon pain is tedinopathy, which can include both tendinitis and tendinosis.

    In simple terms, tendinitis is an inflammatory response to tiny microscopic tears in the tendon, whereas a diagnosis of tendinosis indicates that overuse has caused collagen fibers in the tendon to degenerate in response. As it turns out, many injuries that are commonly branded tendinitis are actually tendinosis instead, and while that may not seem like much of a big deal, knowing the difference can help your doctor provide better care.

    Whatever is ultimately causing the pain in your Achilles, peroneal, or other tendon, Dr. Keith McSpadden at Austin Foot and Ankle Institute can help you overcome it. Our office provides a full range of both conservative and surgical treatment options, and we always exhaust non-invasive approaches before considering more aggressive care. Request an appointment online, or call 512-593-2949.

  • How do I know if I have Achilles tendinitis?

    While you can’t make a positive diagnosis yourself—that will require a visit to our office for a professional evaluation (via physical exam and possibly an X-ray or MRI)—there are definitely some telltale signs that can point you in the right direction.

    Most cases begin as a mild ache. The targeted spot is usually either in the back of the leg, or else just above the heel, at the spot where the tendon inserts into the heel bone. You may notice it first after a run, a workout, or playing a sport (particularly one with running and jumping). Over time the pain, stiffness, and tenderness may get worse. Discomfort is typically most prevalent in the early morning, or after periods of intense activity.

    If you notice any of these symptoms, or any other painful problems with your feet or ankles, schedule an appointment with Dr. Keith McSpadden at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute for a full evaluation and review of treatment options. To see us in Round Rock or Cedar Park, TX, dial 512-593-2949.

  • Why is the ball of my foot swollen?

    A number of factors can contribute to pain and swelling in the balls of your feet. Getting to the bottom of it usually requires both a physical examination and a brief chat with your doctor to discuss your symptoms and activities.

    Common causes or underlying factors in the development of ball of foot pain and swelling include wearing improper shoes for your activities, overtraining or too much impact exercise with adequate rest periods in between, certain foot shapes such as high arches or even extra-long second toes, and obesity. You may also have a more serious or more complicated condition beyond simple soft tissue swelling, such as stress fracture or a neuroma. An examination and any necessary tests will be needed to know for sure.

    Finding the right cause is important, so that we can match you with the right treatment. For help with your ball of foot pain, call Dr. Keith McSpadden at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute today at 512-593-2949.