Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the tendon, which usually occurs as a result of overuse injury. Basketball players are the most susceptible to Achilles
tendinitis because of the frequent jumping. Any activity requiring a constant pushing off the foot, such as running or dancing, may result in swelling of the tendon.
Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that is common especially to joggers and jumpers, due to the repetitive action and so may occur in other activities that requires the same repetitive action.
Most tendon injuries are the result of gradual wear and tear to the tendon from overuse or ageing. Anyone can have a tendon injury, but people who make the same motions over and over in their jobs,
sports, or daily activities are more likely to damage a tendon. A tendon injury can happen suddenly or little by little. You are more likely to have a sudden injury if the tendon has been weakened
over time. Common causes of Achilles tendonitis include, over-training or unaccustomed use,?too much too soon?. Sudden change in training surface e.g. grass to bitumen. Flat (over-pronated) feet,
High foot arch with tight Achilles tendon. tight hamstring (back of thigh) and calf muscles, toe walking (or constantly wearing high heels). Poorly supportive footwear, hill running. Poor eccentric
Symptoms include pain in the heel and along the tendon when walking or running. The area may feel painful and stiff in the morning. The tendon may be painful to touch or move. The area may be swollen
and warm. You may have trouble standing up on one toe.
Your physiotherapist or sports doctor can usually confirm the diagnosis of Achilles tendonitis in the clinic. They will base their diagnosis on your history, symptom behaviour and clinical tests.
Achilles tendons will often have a painful and prominent lump within the tendon. Further investigations include US scan or MRI. X-rays are of little use in the diagnosis.
Initial treatment of mild Achilles tendinitis involves rest, stretching exercises, and non-prescriptive medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. These medications include nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Relief of pain and swelling may be achieved with the application of ice for15 minutes at a time. Sleeping with the affected foot propped
up on a pillow may also relieve swelling. Adequate time must be given to rest and recovery, meaning months or weeks, to prevent re-injury of the Achilles tendon. Most people make a full recovery and
are able to return to their regular sports and exercise programs.
Open Achilles Tendon Surgery is the traditional Achilles tendon surgery and remains the 'gold standard' of surgery treatments. During this procedure one long incision (10 to 17 cm in length) is made
slightly on an angle on the back on your lower leg/heel. An angled incision like this one allows for the patient's comfort during future recovery during physical therapy and when transitioning back
into normal footwear. Open surgery is performed to provide the surgeon with better visibility of the Achilles tendon. This visibility allows the surgeon to remove scar tissue on the tendon,
damaged/frayed tissue and any calcium deposits or bone spurs that have formed in the ankle joint. Once this is done, the surgeon will have a full unobstructed view of the tendon tear and can
precisely re-align/suture the edges of the tear back together. An open incision this large also provides enough room for the surgeon to prepare a tendon transfer if it's required. When repairing the
tendon, non-absorbale sutures may be placed above and below the tear to make sure that the repair is as strong as possible. A small screw/anchor is used to reattach the tendon back to the heel bone
if the Achilles tendon has been ruptured completely. An open procedure with precise suturing improves overall strength of your Achilles tendon during the recovery process, making it less likely to
re-rupture in the future.
While it may not be possible to prevent Achilles tendinitis, you can take measures to reduce your risk. Increase your activity level gradually. If you're just beginning an exercise regimen, start
slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of the training. Take it easy. Avoid activities that place excessive stress on your tendons, such as hill running. If you participate in a
strenuous activity, warm up first by exercising at a slower pace. If you notice pain during a particular exercise, stop and rest. Choose your shoes carefully. The shoes you wear while exercising
should provide adequate cushioning for your heel and should have a firm arch support to help reduce the tension in the Achilles tendon. Replace your worn-out shoes. If your shoes are in good
condition but don't support your feet, try arch supports in both shoes. Stretch daily. Take the time to stretch your calf muscles and Achilles tendon in the morning, before exercise and after
exercise to maintain flexibility. This is especially important to avoid a recurrence of Achilles tendinitis. Strengthen your calf muscles. Strong calf muscles enable the calf and Achilles tendon to
better handle the stresses they encounter with activity and exercise. Cross-train. Alternate high-impact activities, such as running and jumping, with low-impact activities, such as cycling and