Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury that affects the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles at the back of the leg to the heel bone. This type of injury is not associated with a specific injury. It's commonly caused by sudden increases in exercise intensity and tight calf muscles and is prevalent in runners and middle-aged athletes. Symptoms may include stiffness, swelling, and heel pain, and treatment can include home remedies like over-the-counter pain medications, physical therapy, and surgery.

Achilles tendinitis explained

The Achilles tendon is the largest in the body, and it can withstand a lot of stress. You use it when walking, jumping, running, climbing stairs, or standing on your tip toes. Achilles tendinitis is acute inflammation that can occur in the tendon itself or where it attaches to the heel. If it occurs in the middle portion of the tendon, the fibers may develop tiny tears and start to break down, which leads to thickening and swelling. If it occurs where the tendon connects to the heel, it is called insertional tendinitis. This type is frequently caused by tight calf muscles and is most common in runners.

Inflammation of Asian young man’s ankle joint and foot. Concept of joint pain, osteoarthritis or gout.


Common causes identified

Achilles tendinitis is generally not related to a specific injury. It results from repetitive stress that happens when we push ourselves to do too much too quickly, like increasing the duration or intensity of exercise without allowing your body to recover properly. Tight calf muscles put extra stress on the Achilles tendon, which can lead to irritation. Research shows that there may also be a link between obesity and tendonapathy, including Achilles tendonitis.

Achilles tendon tearing, a common running injury. pressure point. achilles tendon painful.


Recognizing the symptoms

Symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include pain near the heel or down the back of the leg that typically gets worse with activity or throughout the day. You may also feel it the day after you exercise. The tendon may feel stiff when you first wake up, and it may swell and thicken. Achilles tendinitis can lead to burn spurs forming on the heel bone and difficulty flexing the affected foot.

Foot anatomy with red highlight on painful area. Ankle pain may cause from muscle strain, Achilles tendinitis, ligament sprain, arthritis, nerve entrapment, bursitis disease. Medical symptom


When to see a doctor

If you have pain that persists or interferes with your usual routine, seeing a doctor may be a good idea. If you hear a pop or snapping with the sudden onset of severe pain, you may have an Achilles tendon rupture, which requires immediate medical attention. Achilles tendon ruptures are most common in people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s and may result from poor conditioning before exercise, overexertion, diabetes, and genetic factors.

Physiotherapist during an Achilles tendon treatment.


Diagnostic procedures

A doctor will examine your foot and ankle, looking for swelling along the back of your heel, bone spurs on the heel, pain in the middle of the tendon, heel pain when stretching the calf muscle, and difficulty pointing your toes downward. Achilles tendinitis may be mistaken for a sprained ankle, so your doctor may order additional tests, including X-rays to assess calcification. An MRI or ultrasound may be needed to plan surgery when other treatments are not effective.

lateral x-ray of foot and ankle. the film show normal bone and joint. the patient has Achilles tendinitis and retrocalcaneal bursitis.


Home treatment strategies

In most cases of Achilles tendinitis, non-surgical treatment options can help bring pain relief and allow for healing. Rest is essential; decreasing or even stopping activity may be necessary. Switch to low-impact exercising like swimming or biking as opposed to running. Your doctor may also recommend an ankle boot or brace to wear during activity. Icing can be helpful throughout the day for up to 20 minutes at a time (or less if the skin becomes numb).

Achilles tendinitis,painful of leg and ankle in joint of the bone,senior woman suffer from plantar fasciitis,tendon connecting calf muscles to the heel,injury to stiffness of the ligaments in the body


Importance of physical therapy

Physical therapy can be very effective at treating Achilles tendinitis. Calf stretches and bilateral and single heel drops are common exercises that can strengthen and stretch the calf muscle and tendon. A physical therapist may also recommend orthotic devices like a wedge or insert that goes into the shoe to raise the heel and eliminate strain on the tendon slightly.

Treat ankle pain by using Kinesiology technique. Physical therapist use color tape to heal muscle and tendon. This treatment is usually found in sportsman such as football player.


Medications and their role

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs can help reduce pain and swelling. They can help make the pain manageable during physical therapy and daily activity, but NSAIDs will not directly help the degenerated tendon heal. If you need to use over-the-counter medication for more than a month, talk to your doctor.

Tablet of NSAID drug medication on black background. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is medication used to reduce pain, decrease inflammation and fever and prevent blooc clots


Advanced treatment options

Research shows that extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) can provide pain relief and better outcomes of some Achilles tendon injuries. ESWT uses shockwaves applied to the injured tendon to promote healing. Although more research is needed about how effective ESWT is for treating Achilles tendinitis, it is a low-risk procedure with few complications. Another treatment option is eccentric stretching exercises, which involves tightening the muscle while it is getting longer. These exercises can damage the Achilles tendon more if not done correctly, so they should only be done under the supervision of a trained physical therapist until cleared to do them at home.

Shockwave therapy SWT physiotherapist treat muscular disorder back neck physical tennis Elbow muscle stimulator ultrasound calcific tendonitis


Surgical interventions explored

Achilles tendon repair surgery may be necessary to fix a damaged Achilles tendon, though this is usually only the case if the tendon ruptures or in instances of severe degeneration. If the tendon is ruptured, the surgeon will remove the damaged section and repair the rest of the tendon with stitches. When the damage is severe, the surgeon may need to replace part or all of it using a tendon harvested from another place in your foot.

Doctor bandaging foot patient in hospital.


Lifestyle and preventive measures

If you want to prevent Achilles tendon injuries, warm up before doing any exercising, playing sports, or doing other repetitive movements. Wear the correct type of shoes for your feet and the activity you're doing, and increase activity slowly. Stick to flat surfaces, and stop any activity that causes pain.

Lower couple young two friend strong sporty sportswoman sportsman woman man in sport clothes warm up training do stretch exercise on sand sea ocean beach outdoor jog on seaside in summer day


Role of diet and supplements

Studies show that certain foods and supplements can help support tendon health. Researchers discovered that moderate weekly alcohol consumption was associated with a modestly increased risk of Achilles tendinopathy, though its effects on tendinitis are unknown. Tendons are largely made up of collagen, so collagen supplements may be beneficial, though optimal dosage and duration are unknown. More studies are needed. Some research also shows that leucine, an amino acid, may help stimulate collagen synthesis.

cruciferous vegetables capsules, dietary supplements for healthy


Understanding complications

One of the main complications of Achilles tendinitis is a tendon rupture. Signs of a tendon rupture include a sudden onset of pain and an audible "pop" or "snap." Tendon ruptures generally require surgical repair, so if you suspect you have one, see a doctor right away. If you need surgery to repair a tendon rupture, the surgery can have its own complications, most notably, wound infection.

Achilles tendon rupture injury Feet calf test range of motion slight ache problem limb Thompson Simmonds


Recovery and rehabilitation

Physical therapy can be an important part of recovery. Attending sessions as ordered by your doctor can be key to healing, but practicing the exercises that the physical therapist teaches you at home is also important. Do not jump right back into your same activity level. Instead, slowly ease your way back into your exercise routine. If you feel any pain, stop.

A woman in leggings lying in bed resting with a cushion on her feet.


Managing achilles tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury commonly caused by overuse or a sudden increase in exercise intensity. Most cases respond to non-surgical treatment options, like rest, ice, wearing a brace or boot, and switching to low-impact exercises. Achilles tendinitis is not without its complications. Tendon rupture can be severe and requires surgical repair. If you feel pain along the back of your calf or heel when exercising, stop, rest, and talk to your doctor to prevent further injury.

Man in athletic sneakers wearing ankle orthosis or brace


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