Achilles tendonitis is a common disorder that can cause lingering pain and swelling for those effected, and can even require surgery when left untreated. An early evaluation at an AFACC clinic can help you recover properly and avoid surgery with non-invasive treatments. Fill out the form to the left to schedule an appointment with a specialist today.
What is the Achilles Tendon & How is it Affected By Tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis is an acute inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the back of the heel bone. Also called the “heel cord,” the Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body.
Left untreated, the condition usually progresses to a degeneration of the tendon (Achilles tendonosis), in which the tendon loses its anatomic structure and is likely to develop tendon tears. In some cases, the degeneration may result in a complete rupture of the tendon.
Causes & Symptoms of Achilles Injuries
Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis and tendonosis may include the following:
- Pain with activities or at rest
- Thickening of the tendon
- Tendon weakness
These symptoms are usually caused by a sudden increase of repetitive activities involving the Achilles tendon. Such activities put too much stress on the tendon, leading to injury of the tendon fibers. With continued stress, the body is unable to repair the injured tendon, resulting in continued pain.
Achilles injuries are common to individuals who frequently place stress on their feet and ankles, such as athletes and laborers. However, routine daily activities and light exercising can sometimes result in tendon flare-ups. Excess weight can also contribute to tendon damage.
People with flat feet have a somewhat greater tendency to develop Achilles tendonitis and tendonosis due to increased demands placed on the tendon when walking. Proper shoe gear is essential in this patient population.
In diagnosing Achilles tendonitis or tendonosis, your AFACC podiatrist will fully examine your foot and ankle, and evaluate the condition of the tendon. This often includes evaluation of the tendon’s strength and range of motion. The full extent of the tendon damage can be further assessed with x-rays or MRI, when necessary.
Tendonitis Treatment Options
Treatment approaches are usually selected on the basis of how long the injury has been present and the degree of damage to the tendon. In many cases, non-surgical treatments are very effective in managing Achilles tendonitis and Achilles tendonosis. Surgical repair is sometimes required with moderate to severe tendon damage – early evaluation and treatment by your podiatric physician can help you avoid this, and is essential in helping to prevent further damage to the tendon.