Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Mainly occurs due to overusing and is common in the younger age group and athletes.
What is affected?
This affects the Achilles tendon which is the largest tendon in our body. A tendon is a band of connective tissue that joins muscle to bone. It attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone and its main function is to help us stand, run, tip toe and walk.
– localised pain present while walking and running at the back of the heel.
-difficulty in walking
-swelling, tenderness and warmth of the Achilles tendon
-Overuse injury – occurs when Achilles tendon is stressed until it develops small tears. Athletes seem to be most susceptible.
-Foot problems – flat feet and overpronation are also highly prone it Achilles tendonitis. The collapsed arch tends to pull on the calf muscle, hence keeping the Achilles tendon under a tight strain. This ongoing mechanical stress on the heel and tendon can irritate it and cause it to inflame, allowing pain and swelling to occur in the tendon.
-Overweight – Obesity is also a factor in adding strain to not only the Achilles tendon but also many parts of the body
– Footwear – wearing shoes with minimal or no support while undergoing high impact activities or also even just walking and running can increase the risk of strain on the Achilles. High heels is also a risk.
– Other factors includes: arthritis, quinolone antibiotics.
Aim: to reduce strain on the tendon and reduce inflammation.
- Activity and lifestyle modification
- Using stable supportive footwear and orthotics to take away pressure
- Ice packs
- Corticosteroids injection
- Stretching and strengthening
Recovery varies to the severity of the condition and how carefully one follow the treatment and care instructions that is given.
Dr Mitchell White (BHSc MPod)
Gollwitzer H, Diehl P, von Korff A, Rahlfs VW, Gerdesmeyer L. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy for chronic painful heel syndrome: a prospective, double blind, randomized trial assessing the efficacy of a new electromagnetic shock wave device. J Foot Ankle Surg. 2007;46:348-57. PMID: 17761319 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17761319.
Irwin TA. Tendon injuries of the foot and ankle. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR eds. DeLee and Drez’s Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 4rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 117.