Save Your Soles: A Guide to Foot Pain
Pain Problem: Achilles Tendinitis
What It Is: Inflammation of the Achilles tendon (heel cord), causing pain and swelling at the back of your heel and ankle.
Cause: Some people are born with shortened muscles and tendons. But many women get what's called adaptive Achilles tendinitis by wearing high heels all day long -- which shortens those muscles and tendons -- and then going barefoot at night, making them suddenly lengthen. "Such shifts stress the Achilles tendon, which leads to inflammation," says Dr. Campbell.
Foot Fix: A heel insert can lift and cushion your heel, relieving tension on the tendon. An ice pack several times a day and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen can help reduce swelling. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy, which uses sound waves, may help. And try this stretch several times a day: Stand with both feet on the same staircase step, holding the banister. Let one heel drop below step edge; hold for 30 seconds. Do on other foot. Repeat three to four times.