Achilles tendinitis is when the tendon that connects the back of your leg to your heel becomes swollen and painful near the bottom of the foot. This tendon is called the
Achilles tendon. It is used for walking, running, and jumping.
Achilles tendinitis is caused by repetitive or intense strain on the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. This tendon is used when you walk, run,
jump or push up on your toes. The structure of the Achilles tendon weakens with age, which can make it more susceptible to injury - particularly in people who may participate in sports only on the
weekends or who have suddenly increased the intensity of their running programs.
The pain associated with Achilles tendinitis typically begins as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after running or other sports activity. Episodes of more severe pain may occur
after prolonged running, stair climbing or sprinting. You might also experience tenderness or stiffness, especially in the morning, which usually improves with mild activity. If you experience
persistent pain around the Achilles tendon, call your doctor. Seek immediate medical attention if the pain or disability is severe. You may have a torn (ruptured) Achilles tendon.
Your physiotherapist or sports doctor can usually confirm the diagnosis of Achilles tendonitis in the clinic. They will base their diagnosis on your history, symptom behaviour and clinical tests.
Achilles tendons will often have a painful and prominent lump within the tendon. Further investigations include US scan or MRI. X-rays are of little use in the diagnosis.
Treatment normally includes, A bandage, designed specifically to restrict motion of the tendon. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Orthoses (devices to help to support the muscle and relieve
stress on the tendon, such as a heel pad or shoe insert. Rest, and switching to an exercise, such as swimming, that does not stress the tendon. Stretching, massage, ultrasound and appropriate
exercises to strengthen the weak muscle group in front of the leg and the upper foot flexors. In extreme cases, surgery is performed, to remove fibrous tissue and repair any tears.
There are two types of Achilles repair surgery for tendonitis (inflammation of the Achilles Tendon), if nonsurgical treatments aren't effective. Gastrocnemius recession - The orthopaedic surgeon
lengthens the calf muscles to reduce stress on your Achilles tendon. D?bridement and repair - During this procedure, the surgeon removes the damaged part of the Achilles tendon and repairs the
remaining tendon with sutures or stitches. Debridement is done when the tendon has less than 50% damage.
Suggestions to reduce your risk of Achilles tendonitis include, icorporate stretching into your warm-up and cool-down routines. Maintaining an adequate level of fitness for your sport. Avoid dramatic
increases in sports training. If you experience pain in your Achilles tendon, rest the area. Trying to ?work through? the pain will only make your injury worse. Wear good quality supportive shoes
appropriate to your sport. If there is foot deformity or flattening, obtain orthoses. Avoid wearing high heels on a regular basis. Maintaining your foot in a ?tiptoe? position shortens your calf
muscles and reduces the flexibility of your Achilles tendon. An inflexible Achilles tendon is more susceptible to injury. Maintain a normal healthy weight.