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Two local companies have officially thrown their financial support behind the Olympic trials for the sport of track and field.
The generous donations from communications giant, the Bahamas Telecommunication Company (BTC) and Scotiabank Bahamas Limited will ensure that the Olympic trials, hosted by the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) will run smoothly. The two-day meet, which will feature several head-to-head competitions, is now being referred to as the BTC/Scotiabank Olympic Trials.
The meet will be held June 22-23 at the Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium. It is a mandatory event for all persons hoping to be named to the squad. The official team will be named that Sunday.
"The Olympic fever has begun in The Bahamas with the London 2012 Olympic Games being just 43 days away," said Kevin Teslyk, managing director at Scotiabank. "Scotiabank is again proud to be partners with the BAAA as we showcase the very best of track and field in The Bahamas, at the BTC/Scotiabank Trials 2012."
The trials will also serve as the last opportunity for many of the junior athletes wanting to meet the qualifying standards for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Junior World Championships. With so many of the local junior athletes ranked so high in the world, president of the BAAA Mike Sands is confident that the mixture will add the much needed flavor to the meet.
Young Anthonique Strachan has the fastest time in the world, for junior female athletes, in the 100 meters (m). Strachan has already qualified for the Olympic Games with her season's best of 11.22 seconds. She will contest the 100m dash with fellow training partner Sheniqua Ferguson and veteran sprinter Chandra Sturrup, both of whom have posted fast times this year, and have qualified for the London Games.
In the half lap event, on the junior circuit, Strachan follows Shaunae Miller who has a best of 22.70 seconds. Both are a shoe-in for the Olympic Games and the IAAF Junior World Championships, Strachan has a best of 22.75 seconds.
It is not certain if Miller will contest the loaded 200m, which will include national record holder Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie and Sheniqua Ferguson, among several others. However, she will line up in the 400m with Christine Amertil, an Olympic finalist in the event.
Junior quartermiler O'Jay Ferguson's name is ranking among the elite athletes. He is one of the favorites going into the 400m event, during the trials. Chris Brown, Michael Mathieu, Demetrius Pinder and Avard Moncur should not be counted out. Ramon Miller and Andretti Bain have also entered the stacked field.
On the field, national record holder in the men's triple jump event Leevan Sands will be challenged by Lathone and Latario Collie-Minns. Raymond Higgs has moved over the long jump clearing the way for Ryan Ingraham, Trevor Barry and Donald Thomas.
Barry has already met the qualification standard of 2.31m, which is the A level set by the IAAF. The B standard is 2.28m and Ingraham has cleared that.
It's an event to celebrate cancer survivors which means somber and dour aren't welcome. And with performances by Visage and the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Defence Force Pop Bands, sitting down demurely at a table at the Cancer Society Gala Ball will definitely be a faux pas.
"This event is about getting up on your feet and being thankful for being alive," said Gina Rolle, vice-chairman of the 11th Annual Cancer Society Ball. "So we want to see people come out and have double the fun knowing they are supporting a good cause."
The ball will be held under the theme "Fiesta: The Spirit of Survival" and will be held at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort on Saturday, May 19 with cocktails at 7 p.m., and dinner at 8 p.m. Tickets for the black tie affair are $225.
"This event is about fun and beauty. We want to celebrate the people who have made it through cancer and let people come out and show their support.We want people to come out and dance the night away. Kick off their shoes, have fun, let loose and celebrate."
Rolle said the ball is about embracing life and the spirit of survival. And has always been a fun affair, as opposed to the stodgy atmosphere that can prevail at some affairs.
"We like to focus on people's enjoyment and not just talk and formality. We embrace life and the spirit of survival. The ball has always been a blast and this year will be fantastic."
As in previous years there will be a fabulous array of prizes to be won -- roundtrip tickets for two to Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, the United States and even trips to the Family Islands as well as jewelry, luggage and spa sessions. A silent auction will also be staged again this year. Items up for grabs include a conch shell dinner set, paintings and jewelry.
The ball will also provide an opportunity for families and friends to come together at a party like no other. The food she said would just be the icing on the cake with dishes that will entice the meat lover as well as the vegetarian and the health conscious.
"There will not be a boring moment and people will have fun from start to finish," she said. "Although the event is about making the public more aware about cancer, there will not be a lot of speech making or formalities. It is hoped that people just have a good time and remember the event for the fun they have and not the long boring sermons. We want to celebrate the people who have made it through cancer and let people come out and show their support. This event is about getting up on your feet and being thankful for being alive."
Funds raised from the event will go toward the Cancer Society's Cancer Caring Center which assists Family Island patients with cancer who don't have anywhere to stay while getting their cancer treatments in New Providence.
The Spirit of Survival
When: Saturday, May 19
Where: Sheraton Nassau Resort, Cable Beach
Time: Cocktails at 7 p.m. and dinner at 8 p.m.
Attire: Black Tie
Bahama Island - Lucaya International School is proud to announce its
annual favorite fundraiser, the Fishing Fling Tournament on May 26th.
Fishing can begin at 6:00am, weigh-in from 6:30-8:30pm, followed by a
celebration of the day's catches at our Splash Bash! Come to fish,
party, or both! The festivities will take place at the GB Sailing Club,
and will include a cash bar, dinner and dancing. Bring your party shoes
along with your rod and reel!
This year we are thrilled to
announce Jamie Rose, of OBS Marine Ltd. as our Tournament Director. In
addition to a grand cash prize, winners will have a chance to win
merchandise prizes from OBS...
Choosing and wearing the right athletic shoe is a vital part of maintaining your weight and a healthy lifestyle. However, research has shown that most persons do not exercise at all or not consistently if they have foot pain. Wearing the correct athletic shoes when engaging in your physical activities can go a long way to encourage and promote regular exercise. Not wearing the correct shoes is like trying to perform a specialized skill or activity without having the right tools.
Several factors influence the type of athletic shoes you purchase and wear including the sport you play, foot type and body weight. Body weight must be considered when purchasing a shoe. Increased body weight places more demands upon the feet and shoes and also contributes to the shoes wearing out earlier.
You can find the athletic shoe to fit well and give you the needed support during your physical activity or sport. Here are some reminders to consider when purchasing your athletic shoes.
Know your foot type
Your foot type should play an important role in selecting the correct pair of athletic shoes and can go a long way to preventing many foot injuries and reducing the risk of accelerating and aggravating foot deformities. Feet come in different shapes and sizes and they must be considered when buying your athletic shoes.
For the most part, there are three main foot types -- the low-arched foot, the medium and high-arched foot. Shoes should be selected based on the foot type. Based on the foot type, the foot becomes less flexible and the shoes become more rigid to better accommodate the foot.
Choose the shoe style and type based on your foot type.
The low-arched, pronated foot should wear motion control shoes, while the medium-arched foot should wear stability type shoes with a slight curve in the middle part of the shoe and the high-arched foot should wear a neutral cushioning type shoes. Whatever shoe you purchase must be supportive and fit properly.
Buy a sport-specific shoe
The sport or activity you are planning to engage is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing shoes. It is best to purchase sport specific shoes. If you are going to walk or play soccer for example, purchase walking sneakers or soccer cleats. The sport specific shoes are specially designed for the movements usually conducted in that sport and will support your feet better while performing it.
Purchasing a shoe designed for the exact sporting /physical activity you will be participating in not only improves your performance but also protects your feet from foot and ankle injuries. Of course, if you are playing basket ball or soccer then buy the shoes for that sport.
All shoes are not suitable for all activities.
Walking shoes tend to be stiffer while running shoes are more flexible, with extra cushioning to handle the greater impact on the foot anticipated when running. If you plan to do both activities, choose a shoe for each sport or choose a cross-trainer style shoe for general or multiple activities.
Measure your feet before purchasing athletic shoes
When buying athletic shoes, try on the shoes and walk about in the store to be sure it is a perfect fit. Remember, to make sure there is at least a thumb width of space between the longest toe and the end of the shoes.
Don't forget the socks
Without the right sock, even the best athletic shoe won't fit or function properly. Fit your shoes with the sock or type of sock you plan to wear during the sport to ensure a proper fit. The right athletic sock should be made of a natural and synthetic blend to help wisk away moisture and not have any large seams that can cause blisters or irritation.
Finally, remember, the old adage, you get what you pay for. The reality is that a good quality shoe that fits well and provides the support your feet need to continue with your sport or physical activities will cost some money. It is estimated at anywhere from $80 to $200 or even more, based on the sport, the type of shoes needed and your foot type. Don't only look for a specific brand of shoes, rely more on the fit when you try on the shoes.
These shoes don't last forever and should be changed on a regular basis. Don't wait for the shoes to wear out or be torn to replace them. The older the shoe, the more likely it has lost its built-in support and can no longer support your feet. For example, it is recommended that running shoes last anywhere from 200 to 400 miles. So if you run a whole lot per week, your shoe will wear out faster than someone who doesn't run as many miles as you. Think of your sneakers like the tires on your car, so keep a close eye on them. When the outsole (bottom) of a shoe starts to wear down, it will get smooth and start looking like the bald tire on a car. When this happens it's time to replace your shoes. You can also twist the shoe and if it twists from side to side really easily, the shoes are worn and do not offer enough support and must be replaced. Of course, if the shoe is worn, torn or changed shape to fit your feet, they need to be changed. Foot pain can also be an indication that it is time to change your shoes. Remember, foot pain is not normal. Stop, change your shoes and if the pain persists see a podiatrist for a complete check up.
oFor more information email me at email@example.com or visit www.foothealth.org or apma.org. To see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates on Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820.
For the second time in a week, prosecutors have offered no further evidence against a man accused of armed robbery.
Camario Miller appeared before a different judge yesterday but the result was the same.
Prosecutor Vander Mackey-Williams told Justice Roy Jones she had been instructed to drop the case against Miller and his codefendant Basileus Cameus.
The men were accused of robbing Jaynell Pierre of $600 at gunpoint on May 5, 2009.
On Tuesday, prosecutor Terry Archer informed Senior Justice Jon Isaacs that a decision had been made to drop a case against Miller and Brent McPhee.
They were accused of the April 30, 2009 hold-up of Monique Olcerin.
She was robbed of $50 that belonged to Bounty Hunter Shoe Store on Robinson Road.
Miller has several other pending robbery cases.
If your lower back has been hurting, and you don't remember doing anything to injure it, have you considered that the source of your pain could be your feet? Foot pain is something that many people try to ignore, but if you have been experiencing foot pain for quite awhile, it could be causing problems in your ankles, knees, hips and even your back.
Back pain is a very common complaint for many people and one of the most common reasons why people see their physician. In fact, most people will experience some type of back pain at least once during their lives. Eighty percent of United States citizens complain of back pain. There are many causes of back pain including arthritis, sports injuries, nerve and muscular problems, poor posture, weak abdominal muscles, pregnancy, degenerative disc disease, etc. One quarter of the bones in your body are located in your feet, and your feet are the foundation and support for the rest of your body.
Our bodies are like a chain, with one link, or bone, connecting at the joint to the next link. Think about what would happen if the first link in the chain was out of position. The point at which it meets the next link would eventually affect that link and adversely affect the entire chain.
That's what happens when we have foot pain. If we experience pain when walking normally, we would tend to instinctively change our walking pattern to ease the pain. For example, if you have arthritis, and your big toe joint hurts, you will change your gait (the way you walk) to avoid bending the joint and causing pain. Changing your gait changes the mechanics of your ankle joint, eventually causing ankle pain. This change in your walking pattern can also affect the whole chain of your lower body -- from the ankle, to the knee, to the hip, and then to the lower back. When foot pain or a foot deformity causes you to change the way you walk, it changes the way the bones of all those other joints work with each other. Cartilage in the joints can wear down, ligaments and tendons can be stressed beyond their normal range, and early arthritis can set in.
When you pronate, or roll your feet in toward the heels, you tend to lean forward which predisposes you to more low-back pain and aggravates any previous back injury. When walking or standing, rotating your feet to the outside often eases intermittent low back pain because it rotates your hips backwards and shifts your center of gravity. Walking this way may help the back, but it is not good for the feet and may cause foot pain and sprained ankles. Standing in a more upright posture will give your back muscles a break. But, the best way to properly reduce the pressure on the spine and back muscles is to correct and balance your feet.
Since the feet are the foundation of the body, shoes play a big role in making sure that this foundation is stable ensuring that all joints work well together and are pain free. Wearing poorly constructed shoes, or shoes that are not for your foot type can cause a significant amount of foot and maybe even back pain. Shoes that can cause back pain are extremely high heels -- especially the pencil thin ones that don't offer much support. On the other hand, wearing properly fitted, supportive shoes, can put your feet in balance and improve the alignment of the rest of your body, helping you reduce back pain. For persons who may have flat feet or high arches they may need more structural support in their shoes. Accommodative inserts, braces, cushions/pads and/or orthotics can also be used to address a particular foot type and help relieve foot and back pain problems.
If your feet or ankles are causing you pain, don't ignore them. It can lead to, or aggravate back pain. Contact your podiatrist for an evaluation and they can fix the problem from the foundation -- your feet. If this does not fix the problem you may need to see an orthopedist, a physiotherapist or even a chiropractor. Your back (knees and hips) will thank you!
oFor more information or to see a podiatrist, visit Bahamas Foot Centre, Rosetta Street (325-2996), Bahamas Surgical Associates, Albury Lane (394-5820) or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.foothealth.org or www.apma.org.
This is the season to be merry, however it is often not a merry time for the feet. Lots of holiday shopping usually means lots of walking and even sometimes running. In addition, it is time for lots of standing while cooking, during parties, at church and even at Junkanoo. In addition most people, especially women, will be wearing new shoes during these activities. All of these factors can add up to painful feet!
A survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) showed that painful feet are a common occurrence during the holiday madness, and the number one way women soothe their aching feet is by moisturizing them. Women admitted that stretching and massaging their feet is also on the list of favorite foot fixers. Here are more ways to keep your feet merry this holiday season.
Exercise your toes: Toe cramping is common due to long hours of walking, often in tight shoes. Avoid toe cramping by raising your toes, pointing and curling them for five seconds in each direction, then repeat 10 times. You can do this several times a day and you won't even break a sweat! But your toes will get relief.
Massage your feet: Women like it because it works! Massaging releases tension, increases circulation and rejuvenates the skin after a long day on your feet. Get out the lotion and rub those toes. Better yet, get a spouse, child or friend to do it. You can also use a foot bath or tub to massage the feet. Fill the tub with warm water and your favorite fragrant moisturizing soap and let the jets massage your feet. People who are diabetic should not soak or use hot water on their feet.
Elevate your legs: Long hours of standing, walking and evening sitting can cause the feet to swell, especially at the end of the day. Reduce swelling by elevating the legs, by sitting or lying down and lifting the legs above your heart.
Rotate your ankles: Because of swelling and long hours of standing and walking, the ankles can get tired and ache. Relax your feet by rotating your ankles, turn your ankle up toward your head, down toward the floor then right and left, slowly five times. This loosens up the ankle joints and increases blood flow to the area.
Wear smart shoes: For the most part during your holiday activities like shopping and cooking, wear sensible, comfortable shoes and avoid high heels! Save the high heels for actual dressed-up events. If you know you will be on your feet all day, wear comfortable shoes with arch support and a padded sole.
When purchasing shoes, do so in the afternoon and be sure to try them on and walk in them in the store to be sure they fit properly. Do not wear shoes that don't fit, they will cause blisters and other injury to the feet.
For people who already have problems with their feet, for example heel pain, Plantar fasciitis or even an injury to the feet, it is vital to follow the podiatrist's instructions and continue to wear the prescribed footwear during the holiday. It will prevent relapse and the return of pain and other symptoms after the holiday.
Prevent injury: It is important to not over-do it and prevent any injury to your feet while rushing to complete holiday activities. Pay particular attention to footwear and walking surfaces. Drinking alcohol and other substances also increases your risk of injury. Continue your exercise routine during the holiday season. Be sure to stretch before and after exercising. Wear new sports shoes cautiously, by gradually increasing the time your wear them each day until you adjust.
If you follow these tips and suggestions you can prevent injury and ensure that your feet are also merry during this holiday season. However, foot injuries and pain including fractures, ankle sprains, blisters, ingrown toenails, etc. are common foot complaints during and after the holiday. If you do get an injury or develop foot pain, see a podiatrist as soon as possible. Remember the reason for the season. Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.
For more information visit www.apma.org or to see a podiatrist visit the Bahamas Foot Centre, Rosetta Street - 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates, Albury Lane - 394-5820.
It's going to be an afternoon of elegance and sophistication with fine dining and entertainment not to be missed at The Balmoral on Saturday at the Luncheon on the Lawn.
From the opening cocktail party to a delicious lunch and attention grabbing fashion show, the luncheon to support the Cancer Caring Centre will be spectacular, said Judy Higgs, a member of the organizing committee.
"It will be a very elegant affair that you will remember. It's the kind of event to which you wear a beautiful dress and hat. The afternoon will start off with cocktails upstairs in the club at noon. At 1 p.m., the luncheon will begin," Higgs explained.
"There will be three wonderful courses, then there will be some music and lots of entertainment. It will be a really nice outing for a good cause. Not only will you have a good time but you will be supporting the Cancer Caring Centre, which is a facility that houses Family Island cancer patients who come to New Providence for treatment."
Flat shoes are recommended for the event, which is on the lawn. Table favors for the ladies will be from Jo Malone, donated by John Bull.
Adding to the elegance of the event, a fashion show coordinated by fashion guru Tyrina A. Neely will be held later in the afternoon. Neely said it will be absolutely fabulous and will feature the hottest looks from the Spring 2012 fashion and resort wear collection.
"We have partnered with numerous local boutiques like Cole's of Nassau, Bahama Handprints, Rubins, Tommy Hilfiger and Splash Dance to show the latest in casual and resort wear. There are lots of great things that are new and vibrant this season that will catch your eye from the bright colors to the graceful styles," she said of the event which will also include The Plait Lady as a partner.
"Currently, colors like tangerine, turquoise, coral and shades of green like lemongrass are the hot colors. Pink is also still big this season, and pastels are also popular. A lot of the fashions that will be shown are new arrivals and are available in the boutiques that are sponsoring the event."
Expect to see Grecian-inspired pieces, casual fun cuts and asymmetrical designs. There will also be handmade accessories by Cute Confections, and some of the latest prints and bags for the season will also be displayed.
"People can really look forward to a beautiful showcase of spring pieces and the hottest trends. This will be spectacular. This event is something for people who just love to give back and are dedicated to helping others. They can attend knowing they will get an event they can thoroughly enjoy," said Neely.
A traditional auction hosted by Ed Fields will add to the excitement. Prizes to be won include a quilt made by Stepping Stone Quilters; jewelry from Coin of the Realm; a trip to Pineapple Fields, Eleuthera for two; a weekend at Highbourne Cay, Exuma; two nights at Dunmore Beach in Harbour Island and a portrait by artist, A.J. Watson.
"Breast cancer is very high in The Bahamas and it affects so many people, so we hope many people will come out. We're anticipating some 300 people to attend - more would be good, but that's a good start. We really have to do what we can to support those in need and an organization that cares," said Higgs.
Bank of The Bahamas International has also signed on to the initiative as the sole sponsor of the Luncheon on the Lawn.
"The setting alone is fantastic, but more importantly, the cause is so important," said Michael Basden, marketing manager at BOB, who serves on the bank's active sponsorship review committee.
"Cancer is a disease that touches all of us and at BOB, we want to do everything we can to assist in education about its causes, prevention and the care of those afflicted.
"The Cancer Caring Centre is especially critical for cancer patients from the Family Islands, many of whom would not be able to sustain treatment in Nassau were it not for the center providing a home away from home, a place of comfort where they can stay while undergoing chemotherapy.
"We have been told that all 10 beds at the center are always full and there is a waiting list. That waiting list could include people for whom immediate treatment could mean the difference between life and death; it could make a difference in the quality of life."
Tickets for the nearly sold-out lunch are $150 and may be purchased by calling Betty Sands at 393-1797 or Carleton Robertson at 328-2625.
Luncheon on the Lawn
When: Saturday, February 25
Where: Balmoral Club, Sanford Drive
Ganglion cysts are also known as "Bible cysts" because they were treated with "Bible therapy" which entailed the use of a heavy book to smash and burst the cyst. Thankfully, this form of treatment is no longer recommended because they do not prevent ganglion cysts from returning and could cause further injury.
A ganglion cyst is the most common benign tumor or swelling on top of a joint or the covering of a tendon (connects muscle to bone). The word "ganglion" means "knot" and is used to describe the knot-like mass or lump that forms below the surface of the skin. It looks like a sac of liquid (cyst). Inside the cyst is a thick, sticky, clear, colorless, jelly-like material. Depending on the size, the cyst may feel firm or spongy. Although they most often occur on the wrist, they frequently develop on the foot, usually on the top of the foot.
Ganglion cysts can vary in size, may get smaller and larger, and may even disappear for a time and then return later.
Ganglion cysts are more common in women, and 70 percent occur in people between 20 and 40 years of age. Ganglion cysts rarely occur in children younger than 10 years of age. They are not serious or an emergency situation, but can be painful and affect proper functioning of the foot. In fact, many ganglion cysts (38 percent to 58 percent) can disappear on their own without treatment.
The exact cause of ganglion cysts is not known. One theory suggests that trauma causes the tissues of the joint to break down forming small cysts, which then join into a larger, more obvious mass. Another theory suggests that damage in the joint capsule or tendon covering (sheath) allows the joint tissue to collect fluid and bulge out.
A ganglion cyst most often appears as a soft lump on top of the foot. It moves easily under the skin when you touch it and may feel like a small smooth stone. Most ganglion cysts tend to cause some degree of pain, usually following acute or repetitive trauma. If the cyst is touching a nerve, people may complain of tingling or burning to the foot or toes beyond the cyst. If the cyst is pressing against a tendon or joint they may experience a dull pain or ache as the cyst takes up space in the foot. There may be difficulty wearing shoes over the cyst which may lead to pain and swelling. The ganglion cyst usually appears as a bump (mass) that changes size. It is usually soft, and about half to 1.2 inches in size. Up to 35 percent of people only have the cyst and no other symptoms like pain or swelling.
Visit your podiatrist to make sure that you have a ganglion cyst, keep you from worrying and help you to decide on the best treatment for you. To diagnose a ganglion cyst, the podiatrist will perform a physical exam of the foot. The lump will be visible on the foot and when pressed it will move freely underneath the skin. The podiatrist may try to shine a light through the cyst or use a syringe to draw out some of the fluid in the cyst (needle aspiration) for evaluation. Your podiatrist may take an x-ray to evaluate the joint under the cyst, but often times it does not show anything wrong. An ultrasound or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be ordered if further confirmation is needed
There are various options for treating a ganglion cyst on the foot.
Monitoring, but no treatment: If the cyst does not cause pain and does not interfere with walking or wearing shoes, it may be decided it is best to carefully watch the cyst over a period of time.
Shoe modifications: You may be advised to wear shoes that do not rub on the cyst or cause irritation. In addition, placing a pad inside the shoe may help reduce pressure against the cyst.
Aspiration and injection: The podiatrist may drain the fluid from the cyst and then inject some medication into the cyst to prevent it from coming back. Studies have shown that up to 74 percent of people are cured after having the fluid drawn out of the cyst with a needle. This may need to be repeated. In some cases, the cyst may return.
When is surgery needed?
Surgical removal of the cyst is needed when the mass is painful, interferes with function and wearing shoes, or causes numbness or tingling. Surgery can involve simple removal of the cysts through a small incision. The recovery after surgery is fairly quickly, about one to two weeks. The recurrence rate after surgery is much lower than after aspiration and injection, however there is still a chance that the Ganglion cyst can return.
oFor more information visit www.foothealth.com or www.emedicinehealth.com or email email@example.com. To see a podiatrist, visit Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates on Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820 for an appointment.
Have you ever had pain in the back of the heel, close to the bone, that is worse with walking and stretching? Then you may have had Achilles tendonitis.
What is the Achilles tendon?
A tendon is a band of tissue that connects a muscle to a bone. The Achilles tendon runs down the back of the lower leg and connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Also called the "heel cord", the Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and facilitates walking, running and jumping by helping to raise the heel off the ground.
Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Inflammation is the body's natural response to injury or disease, and is often short-lived. Over time, if not resolved, the condition may progress and degenerate the tendon, leading to Achilles tendonitis. The tendon loses its highly organized structure and develops very tiny tears. In rare cases, chronic degeneration may result in the rupture of the tendon.
There are two types of Achilles tendinitis, based on which part of the tendon is inflamed. Inflammation may occur in the middle portion of the tendon, where it has begun to break down with tiny tears, swelling, and thickening. This commonly affects younger, active people. Tendonitis involving the lower portion of the heel, where the tendon attaches to the heel bone, causes damage to the tendon fibers and may also calcify (harden), causing a bone spur (extra bone growth) to form. This affects the insertion of the tendon and can occur at any time, even in patients who are not active.
Achilles tendinitis is typically not related to a specific injury. The problem results from repetitive stress or over-use of the tendon. This often happens when we push our bodies to do too much, too soon. Such activity puts too much stress on the tendon too quickly, leading to micro-injury of the tendon fibers. Because the stress on the tendon is continuing, the body cannot repair the injured tissue. The tendon structure is then altered, resulting in continued pain. Several other factors can make it more likely to develop tendinitis, including a sudden increase in the amount or intensity of exercise activity, tight calf muscles, and a bone spur where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone. Athletes are at high risk for developing Achilles tendonitis. It is also common in persons whose work puts stress on their ankles and feet, such as gardeners, "weekend warriors" (people who participate in athletics only on weekends or infrequently) and people with flat feet.
Common symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include:
o Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon especially in the morning, and the pain along the tendon or back of the heel that worsens with activity. The pain can be severe the day after exercising.
o Thickening or nodules may be felt in the tendon. A bone spur may be felt where the tendon attaches to the heel bone.
o Swelling that is present all the time and gets worse throughout the day with activity. If you have experienced a sudden "pop" in the back of your calf or heel, you may have ruptured (torn) your Achilles tendon. See your doctor immediately if you think you may have torn your tendon.
As the podiatrist examines you, he or she will evaluate the range of motion of the ankle and the condition of the tendon by looking for signs of swelling along the Achilles tendon or at the back of your heel, thickening or enlargement of the Achilles tendon, bony spurs at the lower part of the tendon, and the location of pain. The podiatrist may also order imaging tests such as X-rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Treatment approaches for Achilles tendonitis is based on how long the injury has been present and the degree of damage to the tendon. In most cases, nonsurgical treatment options will provide pain relief, although it may take sometimes up to three to six months for symptoms to completely subside. Seeking medical treatment promptly is important to ensure the best chance of healing the condition. Treatment options may include:
o Rest: The first step in reducing pain is to decrease or even stop the activities that make the pain worse. If you regularly do high-impact exercises (such as running), switching to low-impact activities will put less stress on the Achilles tendon.
Cross-training activities such as biking, elliptical exercise, and swimming are low-impact options to help you stay active.
o Immobilization: With severe pain, immobilizing the tendon may be needed and may involve the use of a cast or removable walking boot to reduce forces through the Achilles tendon, promote rest and healing.
o Ice: To reduce swelling due to inflammation, apply a bag of ice over a thin towel to the affected area for 20 minutes of each waking hour. Do not put ice directly against the skin.
o Oral medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be helpful in reducing the pain and inflammation.
o Orthotics and supportive shoes: For those with over-pronation or gait abnormalities, custom orthotic devices may be prescribed. Pain from insertional Achilles tendinitis is often helped by certain shoes and orthotic devices. For example, shoes that are open or softer at the back of the heel can reduce irritation of the tendon and heel lifts can move the heel away from the back of the shoe, where rubbing can occur, taking some strain off the tendon.
o Night splints: Help to maintain a stretch in the Achilles tendon during sleep.
o Exercise: Calf stretching is important to help strengthen the calf muscles and reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.
o Physical therapy: May include more stretching and strengthening exercises, soft-tissue massage/mobilization, gait and running reeducation, stretching, and ultrasound therapy.
o Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT): a non-invasive therapy that does not require a surgical incision and has minimal risks. It is sometimes tried before surgery is considered. During this procedure, high-energy shockwave impulses are applied to the area which stimulates the healing process in the damaged tendon tissue.
o Cortisone injections: Cortisone, a type of steroid, is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. Cortisone injections into the Achilles tendon are not recommended because they can cause the tendon to rupture (tear).
When is surgery needed?
If non-surgical approaches fail to restore the tendon to its normal condition and pain persists for more than six months, surgery may be necessary. The foot and ankle surgeon will select the best procedure to repair the tendon, based upon the extent of the injury, the location of the damage to the tendon, the patient's age and activity level, and other factors.
Most patients have good results following surgery. The greater the amount of tendon that is injured, the longer the recovery period will be, and the less likely the patient will be able to fully return to their level of sporting activity. Pain, wound infection or healing delays are the most common complications after surgery. Physical therapy is a vital part of recovery and may be required for a long time.
To prevent Achilles tendonitis from recurring after surgical or non-surgical treatment, the podiatrist may recommend daily strengthening and stretching exercises to the calf muscles. Wearing proper shoes for the foot type and sporting activity is also important in preventing recurrence of the condition.
For more information on Achilles tendinitis, visit www.apma.org or www.foothealth.com or send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have foot pain or any concern, visit a podiatrist at Bahamas Foot Centre, Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996; Bahamas Surgical Associates, Albury Lane, telephone 394-5824 or the Foot & ankle Institute Dean's Lane, telephone 326-5402.