Achilles tendonitis is a condition that causes pain along the back of the leg near the heel. It is caused by overuse and degeneration of the Achilles tendon.The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. It is used when you walk, run, and jump.
Achilles tendonitis can result from a repetitive use of the tendon.This includes a sudden increase in the intensity of an activity or exercise, having tight calf muscles that that can put extra stress on the tendon, or a bone spur. Bone spurs are extra bony growths where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone. Constant rubbing in this area against the tendon can cause pain.
Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:
- Thickening of the tendon
- Bone spur
- Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon
- Pain and inflammation along the back of the heel
- Swelling around the back of the heel and ankle
Treatment of Achilles tendonitis includes:
- Rest-decrease or stop activities that make the symptoms worse. This applies to all high-impact activities that include running, jumping, etc. If you want to remain active switch to low-impact activities such as swimming, biking, etc.
- Icing the area will help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. The icing is recommended for a total for 20mins at a time until the pain subsides.
- Calf stretches-stretching the calf muscle will help stretch out and elongate the Achilles tendon.
- Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ECSWT) – With this treatment, high energy shockwave impulses stimulate the healing process in damaged tissue.
- Orthotics- Custom made orthotics can help re-position the foot to help reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.
- Surgical procedures may be necessary if there is tearing or complete rupture of the Achilles tendon.