Tendonitis or achilles tendinopathy which is probably a more accurate term is an overuse injury causing pain, inflammation and or degeneration of the thick achilles tendon at the back of the ankle.
The term achilles tendinopathy is probably a better term to describe the range of conditions that can cause achilles tendon pain. Achilles tendonitis can be either acute or chronic. Acute achilles
tendonitis is usually more painful and of recent onset. Chronic achilles tendonitis will have come on gradually and over weeks, not necessarily preventing activity.
Achilles tendinitis can be caused by overly tight calf muscles, excessive running up hill or down hill, a sudden increase in the amount of exercise, e.g. running for a longer distance, wearing
ill-fitting running shoes, such as those with soles that are too stiff, or wearing high heels regularly, or changing between high heels all day and flat shoes or low running shoes in the evening.
Overuse is common in walkers, runners, dancers and other athletes who do a lot of jumping and sudden starts/stops, which exert a lot of stress on the Achilles tendon. Continuing to stress an inflamed
Achilles tendon can cause rupture of the tendon - it snaps, often with a distinctive popping sound. A ruptured Achilles tendon makes it virtually impossible to walk. An Achilles tendon rupture is
usually treated by surgical repair or wearing a cast.
A symptom is something the patient feels and reports, while a sign is something other people, such as a doctor, detect. For example, pain is a symptom, while a rash is a sign. The most typical
symptom of Achilles tendinitis is a gradual buildup of pain that deteriorates with time. With Achilles tendinitis, the Achilles tendon may feel sore a few centimeters above where it meets the heel
bone. Other possible signs and symptoms of Achilles tendinitis are, the Achilles tendon feels sore a few centimeters above where it meets the heel bone, lower leg feels stiff or lower leg feels slow
and weak. Slight pain in the back of the leg that appears after running or exercising, and worsens, pain in the Achilles tendon that occurs while running or a couple of hours afterwards. Greater pain
experienced when running fast (such as sprinting), for a long time (such as cross country), or even when climbing stairs. The Achilles tendon swells or forms a bump or the Achilles tendon creaks when
touched or moved. Please note that these symptoms, and others similar can occur in other conditions, so for an accurate diagnosis, the patient would need to visit their doctor.
If you think you have Achilles tendinitis, make an appointment to see your doctor. The doctor will ask you questions about your recent activity and look for signs. The foot not flexing when the calf
muscle is pressed ( if Achilles ruptures or tears in half). Swelling on the back of the foot. Pain in the back of the foot. Limited range of motion in ankle. An X-ray or MRI scan can check for
Your podiatrist may recommend one or more of these treatments to manage your pain. A bandage specifically designed to restrict motion of the tendon. Over the counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
medication (ibuprofen). Custom orthotic shoe inserts to relieve stress on the tendon. Rest. Switching to a low impact exercise such as swimming, that does not stress the tendon. Stretching, massage,
ultrasound and appropriate exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the achilles tendon. In extreme cases, surgery is necessary to remove the damaged tissue and repair any tears.
Surgery is considered when non-operative measures fail. Patient compliance and postoperative management is an important aspect of the operative management to prevent ankle stiffness or recurrence of
the symptoms. Surgery usually requires a removal of the damaged tissue (debridement) and meticulous repair of the tendon. Post-operative immobilization is required, followed by gradual range of
motion and strengthening exercises start. It may require 6 months for the full recovery. Some known complication are recurrence, stiffness of the ankle and deep vein thrombosis.
By properly training the body, an athlete can build the strength of their tendons and muscles. Following a workout and dieting plan, the body will be able to build muscle and strengthen most
effectively. Additionally, doing the following can prevent tendinitis. Wearing appropriate shoes will give your foot the support it needs for proper movements of the foot and ankle. Improper
movements will put additional stress on your body. Stretching before an athletic activity, Stretching primes the body for a taxing activity. Additionally, this will get your blood flowing and reduce
the risk of pulling a muscle. Ask your doctor about orthotics, Custom orthotics can help get your foot into proper alignment. If the foot does not execute proper mechanics, the body will adjust which
will cause pain and increase the chances of injury.