Achilles Tendinitis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatments

Are you suffering from severe pain along the tendon or back of the heel?  See a reputed and experienced podologue pédiatre immediately and get an Achilles tendinitis test done! Yes, severe pain within the tendon itself or at the point where it attaches to the heel bone is a common sign of Achilles tendinitis. Now, you must be wondering, what Achilles tendinitis is.

Well, Achilles tendinitis is an acute inflammation condition in which the tendon is irritated, inflamed, and develops microscopic degeneration as a result of chronic damage over time. Sometimes, Achilles tendinitis is referred to as “ Achilles tendinopathy”.

The terms “tendinitis”, “tendinosis”, and “tendinopathy” are all same, referring to inflammation or swelling of the tendon, the longest and strongest fibrous tissue connecting the heel bone to the calf muscle.

The Achilles tendon is the longest tendon in the body that helps us to walk, run, jump, and raise our heels off the ground. As a result, it is vulnerable to injury with aging and increased activity. Want to learn more about Achilles tendinitis? Keep reading to know the causes, symptoms, tests, and treatments for it!

What causes Achilles tendinitis?

It’s worth noting that Achilles tendinitis is not caused by a specific injury. Rather, it is caused when the tendon is overstressed due to activities or conditions like:

  • Running or Dancing: People who run or dance possess the risk of suffering from Achilles tendon disorders. That’s mainly because these activities often involve pushing bodies to do too much, too quickly.
  • Intense Workout: Playing sports that involve quick stops and starts or doing workouts with intensity may cause irritation or inflammation of a tendon. A sudden increase in the intensity of your workout like running a few miles more every day than usual without letting your body adjust to the new distance can definitely cause swelling, irritation, and inflammation of the tendon.
  • Haglund’s Deformity: This is a medical condition causing enlargement of the bone on the back of the heel. This can further cause inflammation and pain in the tendon when the bone rubs on the Achilles tendon.

What are the symptoms of Achilles tendinitis?

  • Severe pain along the Achilles tendon the day after exercising
  • Pain or stiffness along the tendon, especially in the morning
  • Swelling at all times, worsening throughout the day
  • Pain on the back of the heel on wearing shoes
  • Pain along the Achilles tendon or back of the heel that gets worse with exercise activity

If you find any of these symptoms in your body, make sure to visit a podologue pédiatre and get an Achilles tendinitis test done. If Achilles tendinitis is left untreated, it can lead to an Achilles tendon rupture – a medical condition where the tendon becomes separated from the heel bone or completely torn in half.

Which tests help determine Achilles tendinitis?

Your podiatrist may prescribe a few imaging tests to determine if your symptoms are caused by Achilles tendinitis. These tests can also help determine the severity of your Achilles tendinitis.

  • X-rays: For patients with insertional Achilles tendinitis, X-rays can help diagnose the bone spurs on the back of the heel by providing clear images of the bone as well as the calcification in the middle portion of the tendon.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Although MRI is not a mandatory test to diagnose Achilles tendinitis, it is a vital test for planning surgery if nonsurgical treatment fails to show results. It shows the severity of the damage to the tendon and helps a doctor determine if surgery is actually needed.
  • Ultrasound: Though less expensive and quicker than MRI, ultrasound may help your doctor diagnose the amount of damage to the tendon.

What are the treatments for Achilles tendinitis?

Your podologue pédiatre may prescribe a nonsurgical or surgical treatment for Achilles tendinitis, depending on the severity of the condition. Here’s what falls under nonsurgical and surgical treatments:

Nonsurgical Treatments

  • Switching to low-impact activities that cause less stress on the Achilles tendon
  • Placing ice on the painful area of the Achilles tendon for up to 20 minutes at a time
  • Following exercises or stretches that strengthen the calf muscles and reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.
  • Using cortisone injections

Surgical Treatments

  • Removing or cleaning up damaged tendons through debridement
  • Surgical lengthening of the calf muscles through gastrocnemius recession
  • Minimally invasive surgery to remove damaged and inflamed Achilles tendon tissue

Final Words

Hopefully, this blog helped you learn what Achilles tendinitis exactly is, what causes such a condition, what are its symptoms, what tests can diagnose it, and what effective treatments can cure it. So, if you are suffering from Achilles tendinitis, ensure to see a podologue pédiatre immediately to get it treated. That’s mainly because untreated Achilles tendinitis can lead to an Achilles tendon rupture where the tendon becomes separated from the heel bone or completely torn in half.

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