Achilles tendinitis is an 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.
Achilles tendinitis is usually caused by straining the Achilles tendon through intense activity or a sudden increase in exercise.
Individuals who play basketball often develop Achilles tendinitis as a result of pivoting, jumping, and running. These repetitive movements put pressure on the tendon and can gradually wear it down over time.
Increasing the intensity of your workouts may also lead to the development of Achilles tendinitis. This is commonly seen in long distance runners who do quite a bit of uphill running. Similarly, if you start exercising more frequently you may also develop the condition due to overuse of the tendon. Not stretching properly before exercise can also make the tendon more prone to injury.
Achilles tendinitis is also common in individuals whose feet have a flattened arch, as this places more stress on the tendon. The condition can also be triggered by arthritis, as joint pain can cause one to compensate by putting more pressure on the Achilles tendon.
Symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include:
Achilles tendinitis can typically be treated at home by following the R.I.C.E. treatment method:
Once the tendon has healed, be sure to gradually return to more strenuous activities. If flattened arches contributed to the injury, wear shoes with appropriate support or inserts to prevent the condition from progressing or recurring.
If these non-surgical treatments have not been able to provide relief of symptoms after several months, surgery may be performed to remove inflamed tissue. However, this is not usually recommended unless all other options have been exhausted. Consult your doctor for more information about surgical treatment options.