Achilles 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.
Some of the causes of Achilles tendonitis / tendinosis include. Overuse injury - this occurs when the Achilles tendon is stressed until it develops small tears. Runners seem to be the most
susceptible. People who play sports that involve jumping, such as basketball, are also at increased risk. Arthritis - Achilles tendonitis can be a part of generalised inflammatory arthritis, such as
ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis. In these conditions both tendons can be affected. Foot problems - some people with over pronated feet (Flat Feet) or feet that turn inward while walking
are prone to Achilles tendonitis. The flattened arch pulls on calf muscles and keeps the Achilles tendon under tight strain. This constant mechanical stress on the heel and tendon can cause
inflammation, pain and swelling of the tendon. Being overweight can make the problem worse. Footwear - wearing shoes with minimal support while walking or running can increase the risk, as can
wearing high heels. Overweight and obesity - being overweight places more strain on many parts of the body, including the Achilles tendon.
Mild ache in the back of the lower leg, especially after running. More acute pain may occur after prolonged activity, Tenderness or stiffness in the morning. In most cases the pain associated with
Achilles tendinitis is more annoying than debilitating, making sufferers regret activity after the fact, but not keeping them from doing it. More severe pain around the Achilles tendon may be a
symptom of a much more serious ruptured tendon.
On examination, an inflamed or partially torn Achilles tendon is tender when squeezed between the fingers. Complete tears are differentiated by sudden, severe pain and inability to walk on the
extremity. A palpable defect along the course of the tendon. A positive Thompson test (while the patient lies prone on the examination table, the examiner squeezes the calf muscle; this maneuver by
the examiner does not cause the normally expected plantar flexion of the foot).
Treatment of Achilles tendonitis begins with resting the tendon to allow the inflammation to settle down. In more serious situations, adequate rest may require crutches or immobilization of the
ankle. Learn more about different treatments for Achilles tendonitis, including ice, medications, injections, and surgery.
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.
Maintaining strength and flexibility in the muscles of the calf will help reduce the risk of tendinitis. Overusing a weak or tight Achilles tendon makes you more likely to develop tendinitis.