Achilles Tendinitis

What is Achilles Tendinitis?

Achilles Tendinitis refers to the swelling of the Achilles tendon that connects the calf muscle and heel bone. It functions to lift the heel while walking or running. 

Sometimes, because of degeneration, an Achilles tendon also tears or ruptures partially or completely, causing pain or loss of movement.

What are the Causes of Achilles Tendinitis?

Constant overuse or repetitive activities can cause Achilles tendon disorders. These activities exert excessive stress on the tendon and lead to micro-tears. 

Participating in sports and exercises can increase your risk of developing Achilles tendon disorders. It is also commonly seen in people whose occupation puts lot of pressure on their feet and ankles. Simple movements like running, jumping, stretching and improper shoes can also result in the rupture of the tendon.

What are the Associated Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis?

Symptoms related to Achilles Tendinitis include:

  • Swelling and bruising
  • Mild or severe pain
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of strength
  • Decreased movement of the ankle
  • Muscle weakness or tenderness
  • Difficulty in walking or standing

How is Achilles Tendinitis Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based on the following:

  • Medical history
  • Physical examination of the foot and ankle to assess movements and condition of the tendon
  • Radiological investigations such as foot or ankle X-rays or MRI scans

What are the treatment options for Achilles Tendinitis?

Treatment options depend on the duration and extent of injury to the tendon. Mild cases can be treated by the following approaches:

  • Taking adequate rest.
  • Your doctor will prescribe medications to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Apply ice bags over a towel on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes to reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Restrict activities that cause pain and stress for a short duration.
  • Your doctor will immobilize your foot with a cast, splint, brace, walking boot or other device, to prevent movement of your leg and assist in faster healing of the tendon.
  • Physical therapy modalities such as strengthening exercises, massage, ultrasound therapy, stretching and a walking rehab program are advised to improve range of motion.
  • Surgery is indicated only in severe cases and depends on the age and activity level of the individual, extent of damage to the tendon, and other factors.

Strictly follow the post-treatment instructions and wear appropriate shoes for the foot type and activity as recommended by your doctor to prevent the recurrence of the condition.

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