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.
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.
A doctor or professional therapist will confirm a diagnosis, identify and correct possible causes, apply treatment and prescribe eccentric rehabilitation exercises. An MRI or Ultrasound scan can
determine the extent of the injury and indicate a precise diagnosis. Gait analysis along with a physical assessment will identify any possible biomechanical factors such as over pronation which may
have contributed to the achilles tendonitis and training methods will be considered. Biomechanical problems can be corrected with the use of orthotic inserts and selection of correct footwear.
Treatment normally includes, A bandage, designed specifically to restrict motion of the tendon. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Orthoses (devices to help to support the muscle and relieve
stress on the tendon, such as a heel pad or shoe insert. Rest, and switching to an exercise, such as swimming, that does not stress the tendon. Stretching, massage, ultrasound and appropriate
exercises to strengthen the weak muscle group in front of the leg and the upper foot flexors. In extreme cases, surgery is performed, to remove fibrous tissue and repair any tears.
Achilles tendon repair surgery is often used to repair a ruptured or torn Achilles tendon, the strong fibrous cord that connects the two large muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone.
These muscles (the gastrocnemius and the soleus) create the power needed to push off with your foot or rise up on your toes. Achilles tendon ruptures are quite common. Most happen during recreational
activities that require sudden bursts of muscle power in the legs. Often a torn Achilles tendon can be diagnosed with a physical examination. If swelling is present, the orthopaedist may delay the
Achilles tendon surgery until it subsides.
Although Achilles tendinitis cannot be completely prevented, the risk of developing it can be lowered. Being aware of the possible causes does help, but the risk can be greatly reduced by taking the
following precautions. Getting a variety of exercise - alternating between high-impact exercises (e.g. running) and low-impact exercise (e.g. swimming) can help, as it means there are days when the
Achilles tendon is under less tension. Limit certain exercises - doing too much hill running, for example, can put excessive strain on the Achilles tendon. Wearing the correct shoes and replacing
them when worn - making sure they support the arch and protect the heel will create less tension in the tendon. Using arch supports inside the shoe, if the shoe is in good condition but doesn't
provide the required arch support this is a cheaper (and possibly more effective) alternative to replacing the shoe completely. Stretching, doing this before and after exercising helps to keep the
Achilles tendon flexible, which means less chance of tendinitis developing. There is no harm in stretching every day (even on days of rest), as this will only further improve flexibility. Gradually
increasing the intensity of a workout - Achilles tendinitis can occur when the tendon is suddenly put under too much strain, warming up and increasing the level of activity gradually gives your
muscles time to loosen up and puts less pressure on the tendon.