What is Achilles Tendonitis?
Achilles Tendonitis is inflammation of the large tendon on the back of the ankle and heel. The tendon connects the muscles of your calf to the back of your heel bone. Pain or inflammation can occur at any place along its course.
How do you get Achilles Tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury, sometimes also called a repetitive-stress injury. An overuse injury simply means the tendon has more stress placed on it than it can adequately recover from before more of the same stress gets placed on it.
For example, a new runner who begins training for a race may run more than the tendon is ready for, and after several days or a week of running the tendon may gradually become painful.
Achilles Tendonitis happens in everybody, not just runners. Other causes include:
- Tight calf muscles
- Obesity/carrying or lifting heavy loads
- Inflammatory conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Bone Spurs
- Prominent heel bone (Haglund Deformity)
What are the Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis?
Pain can be at different points along the course of the tendon. These areas include:
- Halfway between the muscle and heel bone (the easily felt and seen portion at the back of the leg and ankle
- Back of the heel (attachment site)
- Behind the tendon, just before the attachment to the heel between the tendon and the ankle bones
How do you diagnosis Achilles Tendonitis?
A history and physical exam makes Achilles Tendonitis a simple diagnosis.
X-rays help to determine the presence and extent of bone spurs on the back of the heel and to check for a Haglund Deformity.
An ultrasound image may be needed to distinguish the presence of bursitis at the back of the heel, or to determine the extent of tendon injury. Most podiatry offices use ultrasound. We use ultrasound in our office.
How do you treat Achilles Tendonitis?
Common effective treatments used with Achilles Tendonitis include:
- Pain relievers or Anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen)
- Calf stretching
- Supportive footwear
- Heel lifts (shoe inserts)
- Accommodative padding (for painful spurs on the back of the heel bone)
In addition to these treatments, a Podiatrist may also recommend:
- Physical therapy
- A night splint
- An orthopedic boot
- Prescription anti-inflammatories
- Non-steroidal injection
- In some cases, surgical treatment to remove bone spurs, inflamed bursae, and repair the tendon
Check out or Self Care for Achilles Tendonitis*** for Achilles Tendonitis for more tips for getting started on treatment.
Still not sure if you are on the right track?Achilles tendonitis can be tricky. See a Podiatrist for a comprehensive evaluation. In Mesa, Arizona schedule an appointment with Dr Clement.
***Don't wait to get a handle on your Achilles Tendonitis, as some cases result in Achilles Rupture.