Achilles tendinitis is an uncomfortable condition where a person?s large tendon in the back of their ankle becomes irritated and inflamed. It is a very common type of injury, most
often seen in recreational athletes. This makes sense because recreational athletes still play hard at their sports, but don?t have the full knowledge or training that comes with being a professional
to prevent injuries. Achilles tendon pain is not something to be taken lightly, so if you are aware of your own, you should definitely seek some medical advice.
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.
Achilles tendonitis may be felt as a burning pain at the beginning of activity, which gets less during activity and then worsens following activity. The tendon may feel stiff first thing in the
morning or at the beginning of exercise. Achilles tendonitis usually causes pain, stiffness, and loss of strength in the affected area. The pain may get worse when you use your Achilles tendon. You
may have more pain and stiffness during the night or when you get up in the morning. The area may be tender, red, warm, or swollen if there is inflammation. You may notice a crunchy sound or feeling
when you use the tendon.
Physicians usually pinch your Achilles tendon with their fingers to test for swelling and pain. If the tendon itself is inflamed, your physician may be able to feel warmth and swelling around the
tissue, or, in chronic cases, lumps of scar tissue. You will probably be asked to walk around the exam room so your physician can examine your stride. To check for complete rupture of the tendon,
your physician may perform the Thompson test. Your physician squeezes your calf; if your Achilles is not torn, the foot will point downward. If your Achilles is torn, the foot will remain in the same
position. Should your physician require a closer look, these imaging tests may be performed. X-rays taken from different angles may be used to rule out other problems, such as ankle fractures. MRI
(magnetic resonance imaging) uses magnetic waves to create pictures of your ankle that let physicians more clearly look at the tendons surrounding your ankle joint.
The latest studies on Achilles tendonitis recommend a treatment plan that incorporates the following three components. Treatment of the inflammation. Strengthening of the muscles that make up the
Achilles tendon using eccentric exercise. These are a very specific type of exercise that has been shown in multiple studies to be a critical component of recovering from Achilles tendonitis.
Biomechanical control (the use of orthotics and proper shoes). Shockwave therapy.
Surgery for an Achilles tendon rupture can be done with a single large incision, which is called open surgery. Or it can be done with several small incisions. This is called percutaneous surgery. The
differences in age and activity levels of people who get surgery can make it hard to know if Achilles tendon surgery is effective. The success of your surgery can depend on, your surgeon's
experience. The type of surgery you have. How damaged the tendon is. How soon after rupture the surgery is done. How soon you start your rehab program after surgery. How well you follow your rehab
program. Talk to your surgeon about his or her surgical experience. Ask about his or her success rate with the technique that would best treat your condition.
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.