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Achilles Tendonitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

In simple terms, tendinitis can be called an inflammation of a tendon. Inflammation or swelling is a natural response of the body to a disease or an injury. Achilles tendinitis also causes swelling and pain. When one is affected by this medical condition he or she would experience substantial amount of pain along the back of the leg close to the heel bone. Most commonly it is seen among athletes who suddenly increase the length or the intensity of their exercise or runs. This condition is also prevalent among people who engage in sports like basket ball, tennis, gymnastics, dance, softball, volleyball or some other sports that require the use of excessive foot activity.

Achilles tendinitis should not be neglected. Though it is fairly easy to treat this condition at home with the doctor’s advice at its initial stages, yet if uncared for, it may lead to a rupture. Once there is a rupture or a tendon tear then surgical treatment may be required.

Common Cases

This common foot condition is widespread among the persons who are engaged in active sports. The overuse of any affected limb could cause this condition. It is more common among athletes who do not train under ideal conditions  such as missing regular warm ups, uncomfortable and improper sports foot wear, no proper running surface etc. Persons engaged in different kind of sports may have tendinitis in different parts of the body. The swimmers most of the time develop this condition in their shoulders whereas the rock climbers are likely to get tendinitis in their fingers. Most of the times, it is possible to take care of Achilles tendinitis at home with proper guidance from a doctor. 

Causes of Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles Tendonitis may be quite painful and may involve a time taking process of recovery. Therefore, it is important to know what causes it, so that one can take proper precautions and avoid getting this medical condition. the achilles tendon connects the back of the leg to the heel and is the largest tendon in the body. This tendon is much used for actions like jumping, walking, running and skipping.

Over exercise or sudden a spurt of exercise without proper warm up may lead to this medical condition. It is commonly seen among the young people who are runners, athletes or extensive walkers.

The occurrence of Achilles tendinitis may be more likely to arise in case,

•             There is a sudden increase in the amount as well as intensity of any activity

•             It the calf muscles are not stretched out properly and are very tight

•             One runs on a hard surface like concrete

•             The jumping activities are too much like in case of basketball

•             The shoes worn for a particular activity is not suitable and is without  proper support

•             Wearing too much of high heels that increase stress on the tendon

When affected by Achilles tendinitis it would cause pain at the lower leg close to the heel. Under normal circumstances at the initial stages it may be detected by a simple touch or visual examination. However, if there are any complications an MRI or an ultrasonography may be required.

Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis

The common symptoms from which an Achilles tendon injury may be diagnosed are:

•             Pain along the back of the foot above the heel. In tendinitis, the pain may start off be a mild ache and worsen gradually with time. In case of a ruptured tendon the pain can be sudden and very severe.

•             Swelling at the back of the lower leg

•             Stiffness that may make leg movements painful

•             Tenderness

•             A popping or snapping sound during the injury

•             Bone spur

The health care provider may physically examine the patient to diagnose an Achilles Tendonitis. The patient may be asked to walk or run to see where the actual problem lies.

Treatment for Achilles Tendonitis

The treatment for Achilles Tendonitis may be as simple as wearing heel pads, wearing elastic bandages, compression with stretching program before sports. Or it may involve ingestion of anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections, a plaster cast, some techniques of manual therapy or a rehabilitation programme depending upon the seriousness of the injury.

How to Avoid Achilles Tendonitis       

There are some specific ways that can be followed to minimise the risk of developing an Achilles Tendonitis

•             Wearing the right kind of sports foot wear

•             Proper ice and rest

•             Including massage as a part of stretching programme

•             Strengthening muscles of the leg, the calf muscle particularly

•             Checking for injuries after each day’s work out

•             Exercising regularly and not exerting suddenly

•             Avoiding exercises on a hard surface


Proper warm up before exercises along with proper foot wear is important to avoid any kind of muscle or tendon injuries. If not sure about the stretching exercises then it is always better to take proper guidance. In case of any pains, swelling, stiffness or redness in any part of the leg, it is advisable to visit a medical care provider rather than waste time and try to treat it at home.



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