This nagging injury can
be long-lasting if not treated - and if your running form needs some work. The name Achilles is said to be a combination of two Greek words that together mean ?grief of the people.? The injury that
bears that hero?s name, in honor of his only weakness, certainly aggrieves many runners, with Achilles tendinitis accounting for around 10 percent of running injuries. Technically, Achilles
tendinitis is acute inflammation of the tendon that runs along the back of the ankle. Pain in that area for longer than a couple weeks is not really tendinitis anymore. Athletes, however, tend to
characterize any pain along the tendon above the back of the heel as Achilles tendinitis. Achilles tendinitis can be confused with other injuries, such as heel problems, but the hallmark sign is if
you?re pinching the Achilles and it?s really sore.
Achilles tendinitis is usually caused by straining the Achilles tendon through intense activity or a sudden increase in exercise. Individuals who play basketball often develop Achilles tendinitis as
a result of pivoting, jumping, and running. These repetitive movements put pressure on the tendon and can gradually wear it down over time. Increasing the intensity of your workouts may also lead to
the development of Achilles tendinitis. This is commonly seen in long distance runners who do quite a bit of uphill running. Similarly, if you start exercising more frequently you may also develop
the condition due to overuse of the tendon. Not stretching properly before exercise can also make the tendon more prone to injury. Achilles tendinitis is also common in individuals whose feet have a
flattened arch, as this places more stress on the tendon. The condition can also be triggered by arthritis, as joint pain can cause one to compensate by putting more pressure on the Achilles
The Achilles tendon is a strong muscle and is not usually damaged by one specific injury. Tendinitis develops from repetitive stress, sudden increase or intensity of exercise activity, tight calf
muscles, or a bone spur that rubs against the tendon. Common signs and symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis include, gradual onset of pain at the back of the ankle which may develop in several days up to
several months to become bothersome. Heel pain during physical activities which may diminish after warming up in early stages, or become a constant problem if the problem becomes chronic. Stiffness
at the back of the ankle in the morning. During inactivity, pain eases. Swelling or thickening of the Achilles tendon. Painful sensation if the Achilles tendon is palpated. If a pop is heard
suddenly, then there is an increased chance that the Achilles tendon has been torn and immediate medical attention is needed.
In diagnosing Achilles tendonitis or tendonosis, the surgeon will examine the patient?s foot and ankle and evaluate the range of motion and condition of the tendon. The extent of the condition can be
further assessed with x-rays or other imaging modalities.
As with all conditions, your Doctor should be consulted. Even minor symptoms can represent significant damage to the Achilles tendon. It is recommended that medical advice be sought as soon as
symptoms are experienced. Applying ice to the injury on a regular basis can reduce inflammation associated with Achilles Tendonosis. Following the initial injury, ice should be applied for periods of
15 minutes every hour. Resting the injured ankle may be necessary. This can be a problem for athletes who need to train regularly. The degree of rest required depends on the severity and type of
Achilles Tendonosis. Your Health Care Professional will advise you about what activities should be limited while the injury is repairing. Fast uphill and downhill running is not advised while an
Achilles Tendinosis injury is healing. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic medications such as those containing aspirin may help control pain and inflammation. Self-massage with heat-inducing creams and
liniments may be of assistance. Wearing heel-lifts or pads in shoes can reduce the tension in the Achilles tendon. Physiotherapy may assist in the repair of a damaged Achilles tendon.
Physiotherapists may recommend exercises to strengthen the tendon to reduce the chances of future injury. Regular stretching of the hamstring muscles (at the back of the calf) can help the repair
process. This should only be done when the injury has repaired enough not to cause pain during this stretching. Taping the ankle and wearing appropriate running shoes may help to control movement in
the ankle and prevent further injury.
Surgical treatment for tendons that fail to respond to conservative treatment can involve several procedures, all of which are designed to irritate the tendon and initiate a chemically mediated
healing response. These procedures range from more simple procedures such as percutaneous tenotomy61 to open procedures and removal of tendon pathology. Percutaneous tenotomy resulted in 75% of
patients reporting good or excellent results after 18 months. Open surgery for Achilles tendinopathy has shown that the outcomes are better for those tendons without a focal lesion compared with
those with a focal area of tendinopathy.62 At 7 months after surgery, 67% had returned to physical activity, 88% from the no-lesion group and 50% from the group with a focal lesion.
Suggestions to reduce your risk of Achilles tendonitis include, icorporate stretching into your warm-up and cool-down routines. Maintaining an adequate level of fitness for your sport. Avoid dramatic
increases in sports training. If you experience pain in your Achilles tendon, rest the area. Trying to ?work through? the pain will only make your injury worse. Wear good quality supportive shoes
appropriate to your sport. If there is foot deformity or flattening, obtain orthoses. Avoid wearing high heels on a regular basis. Maintaining your foot in a ?tiptoe? position shortens your calf
muscles and reduces the flexibility of your Achilles tendon. An inflexible Achilles tendon is more susceptible to injury. Maintain a normal healthy weight.