Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It can endure forces of 1,000 pounds or more. However, the Achilles tendon is also is the most often ruptured tendon. The rupture is often due to a sports injury. Achilles tendonitis is a common overuse injury among athletes, whether professional or amateur.
Actions that contribute to Achilles tendonitis may include:
- Hill running or stair climbing.
- Rapid increases in mileage or speed when walking, jogging, or running.
- Starting back too hurriedly after a layoff in exercise or sports activity. Especially when there is a lack of adequate stretching and warm up time.
- Trauma caused by sudden, hard contraction of the calf muscles. This usually happens when you are putting out an extra effort, like during a sprint.
- Improper footwear and/or a predisposition toward overpronation.
Achilles tendonitis often begins with mild pain after exercise or running that gradually worsens.
Other symptoms include:
- Recurring localized pain, which can be severe, along the tendon during or for a few hours after running.
- Morning tenderness about an inch and a half above the point where the Achilles tendon is attached to the heel bone.
- Sluggishness in your leg.
- Mild or severe swelling.
- Stiffness that generally diminishes as the tendon warms up with use.
Treatment generally includes:
- A bandage specifically designed to restrict motion of the tendon.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Note: Please consult with your doctor before taking any medication.
- Shoe inserts or custom orthotics.
- Rest and changing your exercise program to exercises that do not stress the tendon, such as swimming.
- Stretching and exercises to strengthen the weak muscle group in front of the leg, calf, and the upward foot flexors. Massage and ultrasound may also be utilized.
In extreme cases, surgery is performed to remove the fibrous tissue and repair any tears.