Tendinitis is a common overuse injury which results in inflammation of the achilles tendon, most frequently causing mild to severe heel pain. The achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body,
connecting your calf muscle to your heel bone. It?s used with every step - when you walk, run, and jump. Although the Achilles tendon can withstand great stresses, it?s also prone to tendinitis. The
condition is very common in athletes, especially runners who?ve suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their workouts. It?s also common in middle-aged, ?weekend athletes? who play sports
like tennis or basketball only occasionally. The pain from achilles tendinitis may be felt anywhere from the back of the leg to the top of the heel. Most cases are mild and can be treated at home
under a podiatrist?s supervision. Severe cases of Achilles tendinitis can lead to tendon tears (ruptures) that may require surgical repair.
In some cases, Achilles Tendinitis can be caused by physical activity without a proper warm up or trauma, such as falling, to cause an overstressing of the muscle and tendon. Other causes include
repetitive overuse syndrome, such as a job that required frequent heel lifting. Biomechanical causes such as pronation (or fallen arches) will cause the heel (calcaneus) to lean slightly, putting the
undue stress on the Achilles tendon and the calf muscles. Most pain can be felt at the back of the heel or the point at which the calf muscle becomes a tendon three quarters of the distance down from
the knee. Discomfort can be felt especially when jumping or when lifting the heel off the ground. Swelling and redness can often be seen at the back of the heel and touching the area would cause a
tender sensation. In extreme cases, the tendon can become torn or rupture entirely which would cause bruising or an inability to put pressure on the foot.
Achilles tendonitis is an injury that occurs when your Achilles tendon -- the large band of tissues connecting the muscles in the back of your lower leg to your heel bone -- becomes inflamed or
irritated. The signs and symptoms of Achilles tendonitis often develop gradually. You'll feel pain and stiffness in your Achilles, especially when you first get out of bed. The pain lessens as you
warm up, and may even disappear as you continue running. Once you stop, the pain returns and may feel even worse. You may also notice a crackling or creaking sound when you touch or move your
Studies such as x-rays and MRIs are not usually needed to make the diagnosis of tendonitis. While they are not needed for diagnosis of tendonitis, x-rays may be performed to ensure there is no other
problem, such as a fracture, that could be causing the symptoms of pain and swelling. X-rays may show evidence of swelling around the tendon. MRIs are also good tests identify swelling, and will show
evidence of tendonitis. However, these tests are not usually needed to confirm the diagnosis; MRIs are usually only performed if there is a suspicion of another problem that could be causing the
symptoms. Once the diagnosis of tendonitis is confirmed, the next step is to proceed with appropriate treatment. Treatment depends on the specific type of tendonitis. Once the specific diagnosis is
confirmed, the appropriate treatment of tendonitis can be initiated.
Initial treatment of mild Achilles tendinitis involves rest, stretching exercises, and non-prescriptive medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. These medications include nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Relief of pain and swelling may be achieved with the application of ice for15 minutes at a time. Sleeping with the affected foot propped
up on a pillow may also relieve swelling. Adequate time must be given to rest and recovery, meaning months or weeks, to prevent re-injury of the Achilles tendon. Most people make a full recovery and
are able to return to their regular sports and exercise programs.
In cases of severe, long-term Achilles tendonitis the sheath may become thick and fibrous. In these cases surgery may be recommended. Surgery aims to remove the fibrous tissue and repair any tears in
the tendon. A cast or splint will be required after the operation and a recovery program including physiotherapy, specific exercises and a gradual return to activity will be planned.
Appropriately warm up and stretch before practice or competition. Allow time for adequate rest and recovery between practices and competition. Maintain appropriate conditioning, Ankle and leg
flexibility, Muscle strength and endurance, Cardiovascular fitness. Use proper technique. To help prevent recurrence, taping, protective strapping, or an adhesive bandage may be recommended for
several weeks after healing is complete.