Tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles Tendon. This tendon attaches the muscles in the calf of the leg to the back of our heels. The Achilles Tendon is a long and thick tendon, which moves our
foot down, so that the toes point to the ground (plantar flexion). This tendon can become inflamed due to the following causes. Over utilizing it, such as too much running, especially up or down
hill. Trauma, such as a kick to the tendon. Shoe or boot pressure, especially at its attachment to the heel, or just above it. There are over 250,000 injuries to the Achilles Tendon annually. In
fact, more Than 10% of all running injuries are to the Achilles tendon. Tendonitis may be classified as either acute or chronic. Acute Achilles Tendonitis comes on quickly, usually after a specific
activity or event. It is characterized by an overstretching or tearing of some of the small fibers of the tendon, and causes pain or tenderness when walking or running. It can occur at the insertion
(near the attachment to the heel bone, or further up the leg, about 4 or 5 inches above the heel. Acute tendonitis can also follow a specific injury, such as a kick to the tendon while playing
soccer. Chronic Achilles Tendonitis develops gradually over time. Many times, you can feel an obvious thickening of the tendon that may be tender when squeezed, due to long standing scarring of the
tendon. Pain is also present when walking or during other forms of activity, and feels better at rest.
Some of the causes of Achilles tendonitis 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 flat feet or hyperpronated feet (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. Quinolone antibiotics - can in some instances be associated with inflammatory tenosynovitis
and, if present, will often be bilateral (both Achilles), coming on soon after exposure to the drug.
The onset of the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis tend to be gradual, with symptoms usually developing over a period of several days, or even weeks. Symptoms may include, Pain, this may be mild at
first and may only be noticeable after exercise. Over time the pain may become constant and severe. Stiffness, this is usually relieved by activity. Sluggishness in the leg. Tenderness, particularly
in the morning and most commonly felt just above where the tendon attaches to the heel bone. Swelling.
A thorough subjective and objective examination from a physiotherapist is usually sufficient to diagnose an Achilles injury such as Achilles tendonitis. Occasionally, further investigations such as
an Ultrasound, X-ray or MRI scan may be required to assist with diagnosis and assess the severity of the condition.
Treating Achilles tendinitis rarely requires much professional intervention. Ease the pain with OTC pain killers. Stretch and strengthen the Achilles tendon. Stop the condition from happening again.
Doctors treating Achilles tendinitis will recommend the following options for accomplishing this. Pain Killers - Generally ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) will ease the mild pain. Physical
Therapy, Stretches and exercises devised to lengthen and strengthen the Achilles tendon will help reduce pain and prevent future recurrence. Orthopedic Supports, Heel-elevating insoles or other
orthotic devices can reduce the strain on the Achilles tendon, helping ease the inflammation and pain.
Surgery is considered when non-operative measures fail. Patient compliance and postoperative management is an important aspect of the operative management to prevent ankle stiffness or recurrence of
the symptoms. Surgery usually requires a removal of the damaged tissue (debridement) and meticulous repair of the tendon. Post-operative immobilization is required, followed by gradual range of
motion and strengthening exercises start. It may require 6 months for the full recovery. Some known complication are recurrence, stiffness of the ankle and deep vein thrombosis.
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.