Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which attaches the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) to the heel bone (calcaneus). Pain can be felt on the
back of the heel at the attachment of the tendon, along the length of the tendon, or at the base of the calf where the tendon attaches to the muscle. Swelling is not always present with this injury,
but it may occur in severe cases.
The cause of paratenonitis is not well understood although there is a correlation with a recent increase in the intensity of running or jumping workouts. It can be associated with repetitive
activities which overload the tendon structure, postural problems such as flatfoot or high-arched foot, or footwear and training issues such as running on uneven or excessively hard ground or running
on slanted surfaces. Tendinosis is also associated with the aging process.
Achilles tendonitis and tendinopathy present as pain in the Achilles tendon, usually several centimeters above where it inserts on the heel. In some patients, pain and tendon damage are primarily at
the insertion to the heel bone. There may be swelling and/or thickening of the tendon. Bending at the ankle, walking, jumping, and running are often painful with this condition.
In diagnosing Achilles tendonitis or tendonosis, the surgeon will examine the patient?s foot and ankle and evaluate the range of motion and condition of the tendon. The extent of the condition can be
further assessed with x-rays or other imaging modalities.
NSAIDS like ibuprofen are often prescribed to help manage the pain and inflammation. Steroids are often recommended when patients do not respond to NSAID treatment. They are often most effective when
injected directly into the inflamed and swollen area. Physiotherapy is a great way to stretch and strengthen the Achilles tendon. A good physical therapist will also teach the patient techniques
which give better foot support during exercise (taping, wrapping, etc?). Orthotics, assistive devices and insoles can be used to cushion and cradle the arch of the foot during the healing process.
Shock Wave Therapy. This is the newest form of treatment and uses concentrated sound waves to stimulate healing in the affected area. This form of treatment is reserved for heel pain that is
unresponsive to other forms of treatment.
As with any surgery there are risks to every procedure depending on a lot of factors, including your age, the severity of your injury and your level of health going into the procedure. It is always
best to discuss all possible risks and complications with your doctor, orthopaedic specialist and/or surgeon before the procedure. It's important to be aware of the risks you may face with any
procedure intended to fix or relieve pain from your Achilles tendon injury.
Suggestions to reduce your risk of Achilles tendonitis include, icorporate stretching into your warm-up and cool-down routines. Maintaining an adequate level of fitness for your sport. Avoid dramatic
increases in sports training. If you experience pain in your Achilles tendon, rest the area. Trying to ?work through? the pain will only make your injury worse. Wear good quality supportive shoes
appropriate to your sport. If there is foot deformity or flattening, obtain orthoses. Avoid wearing high heels on a regular basis. Maintaining your foot in a ?tiptoe? position shortens your calf
muscles and reduces the flexibility of your Achilles tendon. An inflexible Achilles tendon is more susceptible to injury. Maintain a normal healthy weight.