Achilles Tendinopathy

Ankle/foot

Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy (Heel pain) is an overuse injury that involves inflammation or degeneration of the Achilles tendon. It is often caused by repetitive strain from activities such as running, jumping, or sudden changes in intensity during exercise. 

Heel pain can make your daily activities difficult. A common culprit of this discomfort is Achilles tendinopathy, also known as Achilles tendonitis. The condition affects the Achilles tendon, the largest tendon in the body, which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. 

What are the Symptoms?

Several factors can contribute to Achilles tendinopathy: 

Achilles Tendinopathy Symptoms

Achilles tendinopathy usually presents with the following symptoms: 

A specific form of Achilles tendinopathy is insertional Achilles tendinopathy, which affects the area where the tendon attaches to the heel bone. This type of tendinopathy is often accompanied by pain and tenderness near the bottom of the heel, especially during activities that involve pushing, such as running uphill or climbing stairs. 

Predisposing factors / People at risk:

Although the activities and mechanics described above directly contribute to the development of Achilles tendinopathy, certain factors make people more susceptible to experiencing the condition: 

Diagnosis of Achilles tendinopathy

If you suspect Achilles tendinopathy, consultation with a healthcare professional is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment. They will likely perform a physical exam, ask about your medical history and activity level, and may recommend imaging tests such as x-rays or ultrasounds for further evaluation. 

Treatment Options for Achilles Tendinopathy

Fortunately, Achilles tendinopathy is usually treated with conservative measures: 

  • Rest: Minimizing or modifying activities that increase pain is crucial to allowing the tendon to heal. 
  • Ice therapy: Applying an ice pack to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day can help reduce inflammation and pain. 
  • Pain medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can control pain and discomfort. 
  • Physical Therapy: Strengthening and stretching exercises prescribed by a physical therapist can improve flexibility, strengthen muscles, and promote healing. 
  • Supportive Shoes: Wearing shoes with good arch support and adequate cushioning can help distribute stress more effectively. 

In severe cases, where non-surgical approaches fail to provide adequate relief, your doctor might consider: 

  • Corticosteroid injections: These injections can provide temporary pain relief but should be used cautiously due to potential side effects. 
  • Surgery: Surgery is usually a last resort and is only recommended in very specific situations, such as a complete Achilles tendon rupture. 

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