Achilles tendinitis is
inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the fibrous tissue that connects the heel to the calf muscles. This condition is often caused by irritation of the tendon and typically affects those who play
sports. However, older individuals who suffer from arthritis may also be affected. Achilles tendinitis is typically the first stage of an Achilles tendon injury and should be treated right away.
Without treatment, the tendon can tear or rupture, which may require surgery.
Some of the causes of Achilles tendonitis / tendinosis include. Overuse injury - this occurs when the Achilles tendon is stressed until it develops small tears. Runners seem to be the most
susceptible. People who play sports that involve jumping, such as basketball, are also at increased risk. Arthritis - Achilles tendonitis can be a part of generalised inflammatory arthritis, such as
ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis. In these conditions both tendons can be affected. Foot problems - some people with over pronated feet (Flat Feet) or feet that turn inward while walking
are prone to Achilles tendonitis. The flattened arch pulls on calf muscles and keeps the Achilles tendon under tight strain. This constant mechanical stress on the heel and tendon can cause
inflammation, pain and swelling of the tendon. Being overweight can make the problem worse. Footwear - wearing shoes with minimal support while walking or running can increase the risk, as can
wearing high heels. Overweight and obesity - being overweight places more strain on many parts of the body, including the Achilles tendon.
People with Achilles tendinitis may experience pain during and after exercising. Running and jumping activities become painful and difficult. Symptoms include stiffness and pain in the back of the
ankle when pushing off the ball of the foot. For patients with chronic tendinitis (longer than six weeks), x-rays may reveal calcification (hardening of the tissue) in the tendon. Chronic tendinitis
can result in a breakdown of the tendon, or tendinosis, which weakens the tendon and may cause a rupture.
During an examination of the foot and ankle, you doctor will look for the following signs, Achilles tendon swelling or thickening. Bone spurs appearing at the lower part of the tendon at the back of
the hell. Pain at the middle or lower area of the Achilles tendon. Limited range of motion of the foot and ankle, and a decreased ability to flex the foot. Your doctor may perform imaging tests, such
as X-rays and MRI scans, to make a diagnosis of Achilles tendinitis. X-rays show images of the bones and can help the physician to determine if the Achilles tendon has become hardened, which
indicated insertional Achilles tendinitis. MRI scans may not be necessary, but they are important guides if you are recommended to have surgical treatment. An MRI can show the severity of the damage
and determine what kind of procedure would be best to address the condition.
Self-care strategies include the following steps, often known by the acronym R.I.C.E, Rest. You may need to avoid exercise for several days or switch to an activity that doesn't strain the Achilles
tendon, such as swimming. In severe cases, you may need to wear a walking boot and use crutches. Ice. To decrease pain or swelling, apply an ice pack to the tendon for about 15 minutes after
exercising or when you experience pain. Compression. Wraps or compressive elastic bandages can help reduce swelling and reduce movement of the tendon. Elevation. Raise the affected foot above the
level of your heart to reduce swelling. Sleep with your affected foot elevated at night.
Surgery usually isn't needed to treat Achilles tendinopathy. But in rare cases, someone might consider surgery when rubbing between the tendon and the tissue covering the tendon (tendon sheath)
causes the sheath to become thick and fibrous. Surgery can be done to remove the fibrous tissue and repair any small tendon tears. This may also help prevent an Achilles tendon rupture.
There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of Achilles tendinitis, warm up every time before you exercise or play a sport. Switch up your exercises. Slowly increase the length and
intensity of your workouts. Keep your muscles active and stay in shape all year-round. When you see symptoms of Achilles tendinitis, stop whatever activity you are doing and rest.