tendon is the tendon that attaches the gastrocnemius (calf muscles) to the calcaneus bone (back of the heel). It is important in activities that involve plantar flexion of the ankle (pushing down
with the foot or doing heel raises). The Achilles tendon can get inflamed (tendinitis) or it can degenerate/wear out (tendinopathy) with repetitive activities. Aggravating activities include running
and/or repetitive jumping.
Hill running or stair climbing. Overuse resulting from the natural lack of flexibility in the calf muscles. Rapidly increasing mileage or speed. Starting up too quickly after a layoff. Trauma caused
by sudden and hard contraction of the calf muscles when putting out extra effort such as in a final sprint. Achilles tendinitis often begins with mild pain after exercise or running that gradually
In most cases, symptoms of Achilles tendonitis, also sometimes called Achilles tendinitis, develop gradually. Pain may be mild at first and worsen with continued activity. Repeated or continued
stress on the Achilles tendon increases inflammation and may cause it to rupture. Partial or complete rupture results in traumatic damage and severe pain, making walking virtually impossible and
requiring a long recovery period. Patients with tendinosis may experience a sensation of fullness in the back of the lower leg or develop a hard knot of tissue (nodule).
On examination, an inflamed or partially torn Achilles tendon is tender when squeezed between the fingers. Complete tears are differentiated by sudden, severe pain and inability to walk on the
extremity. A palpable defect along the course of the tendon. A positive Thompson test (while the patient lies prone on the examination table, the examiner squeezes the calf muscle; this maneuver by
the examiner does not cause the normally expected plantar flexion of the foot).
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.
It is important to understand that surgery may not give you 100% functionality of your leg, but you should be able to return to most if not all of your pre-injury activities. These surgical
procedures are often performed with very successful results. What truly makes a difference is your commitment to a doctor recommended rehabilitation program after surgery as there is always a
possibility of re-injuring your tendon even after a surgical procedure. One complication of surgical repair for Achilles tendon tear is that skin can become thin at site of incision, and may have
limited blood flow.
Stay in good shape year-round and try to keep your muscles as strong as they can be. Strong, flexible muscles work more efficiently and put less stress on your tendon. Increase the intensity and
length of your exercise sessions gradually. This is especially important if you've been inactive for a while or you're new to a sport. Always warm up before you go for a run or play a sport. If your
muscles are tight, your Achilles tendons have to work harder to compensate. Stretch it out. Stretch your legs, especially your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and thigh muscles - these muscles help
stabilize your knee while running. Get shoes that fit properly and are designed for your sport. If you're a jogger, go to a running specialty store and have a trained professional help you select
shoes that match your foot type and offer plenty of support. Replace your shoes before they become worn out. Try to run on softer surfaces like grass, dirt trails, or synthetic tracks. Hard surfaces
like concrete or asphalt can put extra pressure on the joints. Also avoid running up or down hills as much as possible. Vary your exercise routine. Work different muscle groups to keep yourself in
good overall shape and keep individual muscles from getting overused. If you notice any symptoms of Achilles tendonitis, stop running or doing activities that put stress on your feet. Wait until all
the pain is gone or you have been cleared to start participating again by a doctor.