Achilles tendinitis is
an overuse injury of the Achilles (uh-KIL-eez) tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone. Under too much stress, the tendon tightens and is
forced to work too hard. This causes it to become inflamed (that?s Achilles tendinitis), and, over time, can produce a covering of scar tissue, which is less flexible than the tendon. If the inflamed
Achilles continues to be stressed, it can tear or rupture. Achilles tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It?s also common in
middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball, only on the weekends. Most cases of Achilles tendinitis can be treated with relatively simple, at-home care under your doctor?s
supervision. Self-care strategies are usually necessary to prevent recurring episodes. More-serious cases of Achilles tendinitis can lead to tendon tears (ruptures) that may require surgical
Poorly conditioned athletes are at the highest risk for developing Achilles tendonitis, also sometimes called Achilles tendinitis. Participating in activities that involve sudden stops and starts and
repetitive jumping (e.g., basketball, tennis, dancing) increases the risk for the condition. It often develops following sudden changes in activity level, training on poor surfaces, or wearing
inappropriate footwear. Achilles tendonitis may be caused by a single incident of overstressing the tendon, or it may result from a series of stresses that produce small tears over time (overuse).
Patients who develop arthritis in the heel have an increased risk for developing Achilles tendonitis. This occurs more often in people who middle aged and older. The condition also may develop in
people who exercise infrequently and in those who are just beginning an exercise program, because inactive muscles and tendons have little flexibility because of inactivity. It is important for
people who are just starting to exercise to stretch properly, start slowly, and increase gradually. In some cases, a congenital (i.e., present at birth) condition causes Achilles tendonitis.
Typically, this is due to abnormal rotation of the foot and leg (pronation), which causes the arch of the foot to flatten and the leg to twist more than normal.
Morning pain is a hallmark symptom because the achilles tendon must tolerate full range of movement including stretch immediately on rising in the morning. Symptoms are typically localized to the
tendon and immediate surrounding area. Swelling and pain at the attachment are less common. The tendon can appear to have subtle changes in outline, becoming thicker in the A-P and M-L planes. With
people who have a tendinopathy of the achilles tendon that has a sensitive zone, combined with intratendinous swelling, that moves along with the tendon and of which sensitivity increases or
decreases when the tendon is put under pressure, there will be a high predictive value that in this situation there is a case of tendinosis.
During an examination of the foot and ankle, you doctor will look for the following signs, Achilles tendon swelling or thickening. Bone spurs appearing at the lower part of the tendon at the back of
the hell. Pain at the middle or lower area of the Achilles tendon. Limited range of motion of the foot and ankle, and a decreased ability to flex the foot. Your doctor may perform imaging tests, such
as X-rays and MRI scans, to make a diagnosis of Achilles tendinitis. X-rays show images of the bones and can help the physician to determine if the Achilles tendon has become hardened, which
indicated insertional Achilles tendinitis. MRI scans may not be necessary, but they are important guides if you are recommended to have surgical treatment. An MRI can show the severity of the damage
and determine what kind of procedure would be best to address the condition.
As with all conditions, your Doctor should be consulted. Even minor symptoms can represent significant damage to the Achilles tendon. It is recommended that medical advice be sought as soon as
symptoms are experienced. Applying ice to the injury on a regular basis can reduce inflammation associated with Achilles Tendonosis. Following the initial injury, ice should be applied for periods of
15 minutes every hour. Resting the injured ankle may be necessary. This can be a problem for athletes who need to train regularly. The degree of rest required depends on the severity and type of
Achilles Tendonosis. Your Health Care Professional will advise you about what activities should be limited while the injury is repairing. Fast uphill and downhill running is not advised while an
Achilles Tendinosis injury is healing. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic medications such as those containing aspirin may help control pain and inflammation. Self-massage with heat-inducing creams and
liniments may be of assistance. Wearing heel-lifts or pads in shoes can reduce the tension in the Achilles tendon. Physiotherapy may assist in the repair of a damaged Achilles tendon.
Physiotherapists may recommend exercises to strengthen the tendon to reduce the chances of future injury. Regular stretching of the hamstring muscles (at the back of the calf) can help the repair
process. This should only be done when the injury has repaired enough not to cause pain during this stretching. Taping the ankle and wearing appropriate running shoes may help to control movement in
the ankle and prevent further injury.
Surgery can be done to remove hardened fibrous tissue and repair any small tendon tears as a result of repetitive use injuries. This approach can also be used to help prevent an Achilles tendon
rupture. If your Achilles tendon has already ruptured or torn, Achilles tendon surgery can be used to reattach the ends of the torn tendon. This approach is more thorough and definitive compared to
non surgical treatment options discussed above. Surgical reattachment of the tendon also minimizes the change of re-rupturing the Achilles tendon.
If you're just getting started with your training, be sure to stretch after running, and start slowly, increasing your mileage by no more than 10% per week. Strengthen your calf muscles with
exercises such as toe raises. Work low-impact cross-training activities, such as cycling and swimming, into your training.