The Achilles tendon
is the largest tendon in the body. It connects the calf muscles to the heel and is active during almost all activities including walking, jumping, and swimming. This dense tendon can withstand large
forces, but can become inflamed and painful during periods of overuse. Pain results from inflammation (tendonitis) or a degenerating tendon (tendinosis). Achilles tendon pathologies include rupture
and tendonitis. Many experts now believe, however, that tendonitis is a misleading term that should no longer be used, because signs of true inflammation are almost never present on histologic
examination. Instead, the following histopathologically determined nomenclature has evolved. Paratenonitis: Characterized by paratenon inflammation and thickening, as well as fibrin adhesions.
Tendinosis: Characterized by intrasubstance disarray and degeneration of the tendon.
Achilles tendinitis is caused by repetitive or intense strain on the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. This tendon is used when you walk, run,
jump or push up on your toes. The structure of the Achilles tendon weakens with age, which can make it more susceptible to injury - particularly in people who may participate in sports only on the
weekends or who have suddenly increased the intensity of their running programs.
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
If you think you have Achilles tendinitis, make an appointment to see your doctor. The doctor will ask you questions about your recent activity and look for signs. The foot not flexing when the calf
muscle is pressed ( if Achilles ruptures or tears in half). Swelling on the back of the foot. Pain in the back of the foot. Limited range of motion in ankle. An X-ray or MRI scan can check for
More often than not, Achilles tendonitis can be treated without surgery. However, recovery may take a few months. The following will can help you recover and get back in the game. Rest is always the
most important thing when recovering from an injury. Your body needs a break to heal. While taking time off from exercise is recommended, if you just can?t ditch all physical activities, switch to
more low-impact ones while you?re recovering. When resting your Achilles, try biking, swimming or using an elliptical machine until you?re fully healed. Icing the injured area of your Achilles tendon
throughout the day can help to reduce the swelling and pain. However, try not to ice it for more than 20 minutes at a time. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication is recommended to help reduce
the swelling and pain associated with Achilles tendonitis. These include such drugs as ibuprofen and naproxen. While they will reduce swelling, the do not reduce the thickening for the tendon. If you
find yourself taking these medications for more than a month, speak with your doctor.
It is important to understand that surgery may not give you 100% functionality of your leg, but you should be able to return to most if not all of your pre-injury activities. These surgical
procedures are often performed with very successful results. What truly makes a difference is your commitment to a doctor recommended rehabilitation program after surgery as there is always a
possibility of re-injuring your tendon even after a surgical procedure. One complication of surgical repair for Achilles tendon tear is that skin can become thin at site of incision, and may have
limited blood flow.
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.