The tendon can become sore, thickened and tender to touch at the back of the ankle or just above, on one or both legs. The condition is called Achilles tendinitis, meaning inflammation in the paratenon. It is an overuse problem which happens mainly to teenagers and adults, but can happen to very young children.
What you Feel When you Have Achilles Tendon Injury
Symptoms may appear gradually or suddenly. vFirst thing in the morning there is stiffness in the tendon, which wears off as you move around. There is no pain at rest. The tendon might hurt if you go up and down on your toes barefoot, but in the early stages this pain eases with repetitions. Going up and down on your toes wearing shoes usually causes pain. In the later stages, the tendon hurts when you walk and when there is any kind of pressure against it, for instance if you sit with your ankles crossed.
What are the Causes for Achilles Tendon Injury
If you feel the pain when you wear certain shoes, but not barefoot, the cause is friction from the back of the shoe. Most sports shoes have raised backs, known as heel tabs, as do many normal shoes. It may look low, but if the tab is any higher than the level of the ankle it puts pressure on the Achilles tendon. Boots with stiff seams do the same. Once the problem starts, any shoes which touch the Achilles tendon make it worse.
Other causes or aggravating factors of this type of pain include overtraining; faulty foot mechanics, especially overpronation; pain referred from the hip; poor circulation caused by sitting too long in tight clothing or with your ankles crossed; and hormonal changes in females.
Treatment for Achilles tendon Injury
Any faulty shoes must be discarded or modified by cutting the heel tabs back to the right level. In some cases this solves the problem immediately.
Some specialists offer injections into the painful tendon: if you choose this option, make sure your specialist is an expert, otherwise there is a strong risk of tendon rupture a few weeks later. A more drastic option in chronic cases is surgery to strip the tendon clean of inflammatory material.