Achilles tendon is a tissue connecting the heel bone to the calf muscles at the exterior of the lower leg. It is used while walking, running, or jumping. Constant and rigorous physical activity can cause overuse injuries and degeneration of the tissue, a condition known as Achilles Tendinitis. Although it is mostly seen in runners, the condition is also common in middle-aged people who are involved in sports like basketball or tennis.
Depending upon the damaged part of the tendon, Achilles Tendinitis can be classified as:
Non-insertional Achilles Tendinitis: In this, the fibers in the middle part of the tendon begin to degenerate and cause pain.
Insertional Achilles Tendinitis: It affects he tendon from where it attaches to the heel bone.
The most common cause of Achilles Tendinitis is excessive exercise, particularly in athletes. People with Rheumatoid Arthritis are also prone to develop the condition. Other cause may include:
- Exercising without a proper warm-up
- Strained calf muscles due to repetitive physical activity
- Playing sports that involve sudden change of movements, such as tennis
- Wearing high heeled footwear regularly
- Wearing ill-fitted or worn-out shoes
- Pain along the Achilles tendon, particularly in the morning
- Pain at the tendon or back of the heel
- Pain increases after a physical activity
- Bone spurs, in some cases
- Stiffening of the tendon
- Severe pain after exercise
- Swelling that worsens at the end of the day
To diagnose Achilles Tendinitis, the orthopedic surgeon may recommend certain imaging tests such as CT scans, X-rays, and MRI. He will also evaluate the alignment, flexibility, range of motion, and reflexes of the affected foot.
Applying Ice: Giving ample rest to the heel and applying ice pack on the painful area can help to reduce inflammation and swelling.
Medications: The orthopedic surgeon may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and inflammation.
Exercises: The patient may also be recommended to do certain stretching and strengthening exercises to boost the healing of the inflamed tendon.
Orthotic Devices: Wearing shoe inserts or wedge that keeps the heel marginally raised can help to relieve strain on the tendon. Providing a cushioning to the heel reduces the force exerted on the Achilles tendon.
Surgery: If the condition does not improve with non-surgical approaches or if the tendon is torn, the orthopedic surgeon may prescribe surgery to treat the condition.
For diagnosis and treatment of Achilles Tendinitis, visit the orthopedic surgeons at OrthoTexas, Carrollton, TX. To schedule an appointment, you can call at (972) 492 – 1334.