The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. You use it when you walk, run, and jump. The Achilles tendon is able to tolerate stress but sometimes injury can occur to the tendon when overly stressed. This results in a condition known as Achilles tendonitis which causes pain along the back of the leg near the heel.
Overuse of the Achilles tendon may cause the tendon to swell, become irritated, inflamed and cause pain. This is Achilles tendinitis. It is a common sports injury related to running, but can happen to anyone who puts a lot of stress on their feet (e.g.: basketball players and dancers). If you do not get treatment for Achilles tendinitis, the problem can become chronic and make it difficult for you to walk.
What causes Achilles tendonitis?
Achilles tendinitis is a common athletic injury. Causes of tendonitis include –
- Injury to the tendon
- Sudden increase in activity
- Activities that make you quickly start and stop
- Poor fitting shoes
- Running or exercising on uneven ground
- Tight calf muscles
- Bone spur
- Flat arches
- Exercising without adequate warm up
What are the symptoms of Achilles tendinitis?
Common symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include:
- Leg Weakness
- Slight pain above the heel after activity
- Morning stiffness in the leg
- Pain in climbing stairs or going uphill
- Swelling in the area of the tendon
How is Achilles tendonitis treated?
Conservative Treatments include –
- RICE – Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate
- Physical therapy and Stretching exercises
- Anti-inflammatory medication
For active, healthy patients with Achilles tendon ruptures that are more than 50% of the tendon thickness, surgical treatment is recommended. Surgical treatment should be done within 2 weeks from the date of the initial injury before the tendon and muscle begin to scar and shorten and make reattachment it to its native position more difficult. Surgery consists of repairing the ruptured tendon edges back to each other with stitches.
To know more about Achilles tendonitis, book an appointment with one of the best orthopedic surgeons in Phoenix at Phoenix Shoulder and Knee clinic at 480-219-3342. Dr. Adam Farber is a Board certified, Fellowship trained and one of the top orthopedic surgeons in Phoenix with specialization in sports medicine.