Achilles tendinitis, also known
as Achilles tendonitis, is inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to the back of your heel bone. It allows extension of your foot downward, away from your
body, which lets your heel lift off the ground as you move forward when walking. Every time you take a step you rely on your Achilles tendon.
Although a specific incident of overstretching can cause an Achilles tendon disorder, these injuries typically result from a gradually progressive overload of the Achilles tendon or its attachment to
bone. The cause of this chronic overload is usually a combination of factors that can put excess stress on the tendon: being overweight, having a tight calf muscle, standing or walking for a long
period of time, wearing excessively stiff or flat footwear, or engaging in significant sports activity.
The primary symptom of Achilles tendon inflammation is pain in the back of the heel, which initially increases when exercise is begun and often lessens as exercise continues. A complete tear of the
Achilles tendon typically occurs with a sudden forceful change in direction when running or playing tennis and is often accompanied by a sensation of having been struck in the back of the ankle and
calf with an object such as a baseball bat.
In diagnosing Achilles tendonitis or tendonosis, the surgeon will examine the patient?s foot and ankle and evaluate the range of motion and condition of the tendon. The extent of the condition can be
further assessed with x-rays or other imaging modalities.
The recommended treatment for Achilles tendinitis consists of icing, gentle stretching, and modifying or limiting activity. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or
naprosyn, can reduce pain and swelling. Physical therapy and the use of an orthosis (heel lift) can also be helpful. For chronic cases where tendinosis is evident and other methods of treatment have
failed, surgery may be recommended to remove and repair the damaged tissue.
Surgery is considered the last resort. It is only recommended if all other treatment options have failed after at least six months. In this situation, badly damaged portions of the tendon may be
removed. If the tendon has ruptured, surgery is necessary to re-attach the tendon. Rehabilitation, including stretching and strength exercises, is started soon after the surgery. In most cases,
normal activities can be resumed after about 10 weeks. Return to competitive sport for some people may be delayed for about three to six months.
There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of Achilles tendinitis, warm up every time before you exercise or play a sport. Switch up your exercises. Slowly increase the length and
intensity of your workouts. Keep your muscles active and stay in shape all year-round. When you see symptoms of Achilles tendinitis, stop whatever activity you are doing and rest.