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Achilles Tendonitis

What is Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon which attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone.

Cause:

Excessive stress on the Achilles tendon can cause micro tears and inflammation in the tendon. In some people this stress can lead to a rupture or complete tear of the tendon.

Excessive stress on the Achilles tendon can be caused by one or more of the following:

  1. Overuse injury. This is often seen in runners, and basketball, netball and football players
  2. Tight calf muscles are a contributing factor
  3. Over pronation (feet roll inwards) is the most common cause of Achilles tendonitis. It causes the lower leg to excessively internally rotate, placing an excessive strain on the calf muscle. This inturn over stretches the Achilles tendon resulting in inflammation and pain
  4. Over supination (feet roll outwards)

Signs and Symptoms:

  1. Pain and tenderness in the Achilles tendon region. The pain could be on the lateral (outside), medial (inside) and/or centre of the tendon
  2. Thickening of the tendon
  3. Swelling around the tendon
  4. Pain when walking and running
  5. Pain when pushing off on toes
  6. A posterior heel spur can develop in severe cases

Treatment:

  • Calf muscle stretches
  • Achilles tendon stretches
  • Orthotics:
    The orthotics prescribed and designed by the podiatrists at the Heel and Arch pain Clinic (affiliated with Beyond Podiatry) are made to align the foot in the correct posture. This will reduce excessive pulling and tearing on the Achilles tendon and heal the tear and inflammation in the tendon
  • Short term use of heel lifts
  • Footwear advice
  • Myofascial Therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medication: only if this does not have adverse results with the patient's current medication