Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles Tendinitis Video

Brief Outline of Achilles Tendinitis

Inflammation of the Achilles tendon can be very painful, especially since all of the body’s weight is supported by this structure and the shoe often presses against this area. Repetitive stress to the tendon can lead to inflammation that causes additional irritation, causing more inflammation. Activities such as basketball, running, volleyball, and other running and jumping sports can lead to Achilles tendinitis.

Anatomy and Physiology of Achilles Tendinitis

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body, being approximately 15 cm long, and 2 cm thick. It originated from the musculo-tendinous junction of the calf muscles and inserts into the posterior aspect of the calcaneus. The tendon is separated from the calcaneus by the retrocalcaneal bursa, and from the skin by the subcutaneous calcaneal bursa. The tendon crosses the back of the heel, which means it rides over the bone as the muscle contracts and stretches. Repetitive contraction of the muscles in the calf and improper footwear or excessive pronation of the feet can lead to inflammation in the tendon.

Achilles Tendinitis

Right Foot Tendon is Thicker than Left Foot Tendon

Cause of Achilles Tendinitis

Repetitive stress from running and jumping activities. Improper footwear or awkward landing pattern of the foot during running. Untreated injuries to the calf or Achilles tendon.

Signs and Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis

Pain and tenderness in the tendon. Swelling may be present. Contraction of the calf muscle causes pain; running and jumping may be difficult.

Complications If Left Achilles Tendinitis Unattended

Inflammation in the tendon can lead to deterioration of the tendon and eventual rupture if left untreated. Inflammation may lead to tightening of the tendon and attached muscle, which could lead to tearing.

Immediate Treatment for Achilles Tendinitis

Rest, reducing or discontinuing the offending activity. Ice. Anti-inflammatory medication. Shockwave therapy to promote blood flow and healing.

Rehabilitation and Prevention of Achilles Tendinitis

After a period of rest, usually lasting 5-10 days, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can be initiated. Heat may be used on the tendon before activity to warm the tendon properly. Adequate warm-up, along with strengthening and stretching exercises for the calves, will help prevent tendinitis of the Achilles tendon.

Long-term Prognosis for Achilles Tendinitis

Tendinitis seldom has lingering effects if treated properly. Tendinitis may take from five days to several weeks to heal, but rarely needs surgery to repair it.

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