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Achilles Tendonitis 101

At Paul Klein, DPM, FACFAS we do many surgeries to repair ruptured Achilles tendons. The Achilles tendon is a large band of tissue that runs along the back of your lower leg, connecting your calf muscle to your heel bone and it is what enables you to lift your heel off the ground when you walk. Sometimes a rupture will be caused by a serious injury but in many cases, it starts out as simple inflammation or Achilles tendonitis.

Who is At Risk?

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury. It is often due to a sudden increase in activity that involves the Achilles tendon. This is why many athletes—both professional and “weekend warriors”—are at risk for this condition. Doing too much too soon after a period of inactivity or ramping up an exercise routine in intensity or duration can lead to inflammation of the tendon. Hill running, stair climbing and other activities that stretch the Achilles increase the risk of irritation.

Initially, your Achilles tendon will suffer from micro tears in the tendon fibers which can heal relatively easily but if the stress continues without rest, tendonitis becomes the chronic condition of tendinosis and eventually can lead to a complete rupture.

Patients with flat feet are also at an increased risk for Achilles problems because low or no arch in the foot puts an increased strain on the tendon when walking. For this reason, shoes with adequate arch support or a custom orthotic are necessary.

Symptoms

Signs of tendonitis or tendinosis include:

  •  Soreness, aching, or tenderness anywhere along the length of the tendon.
  • Discomfort ranging from tenderness to extreme pain when the sides of the tendon are squeezed.
  • Pain may be present when you first get up in the morning and then improve with activity but then get worse with prolonged activity.
  • When degeneration begins to occur, the tendon may become enlarged and develop nodules, which indicate damage to the tissue.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, contact our Wayne, NJ office as soon as possible by calling: (973) 595-1555 so that our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, can evaluate your condition and determine the appropriate course of treatment.