Achilles Tendinopathy

Dr. Joseph Stern - Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles tendon is a fibrous band that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.

Achilles tendonitis is of short duration, degeneration of the Achilles tendon. Tendinosis is more long term, where small tears are formed due to repetitive trauma from activity. The Achilles tendon helps with heel raise in walking and running. This condition is common in runners who have a quick increase of running, the weekend warrior, common from tennis, worn out heel of the shoes.

Causes of Achilles Tendinopathy:
Biomechanical abnormalities like increased pronation, poor flexibility of the calf muscle, training error, excessive activity on the ball of the foot, shoe gear, increased repetitive activity injures the tendon tissue leading to pain.

Symptoms:
Pain, ache, tenderness, stiffness, swelling can all be common symptoms of the Achilles tendinopathy. The length of time that the Achilles tendon has been tender either acute or chronic pain. If have a popping sensation of the Achilles tendon, weakness, seek medical advice immediately. The discomfort will occur from the Achilles tendon insertion into the back of the heel up to the tendon muscle junction.

Diagnosis:
The patient is assessed by the Podiatrist through biomechanical analysis, gait analysis and muscle strength testing. Evaluate the tendon strength, flexibility, condition and any defects. Order imaging such as x-ray of the bone, ultrasound or MRI.

Treatment of Achilles Tendinopathy:
Immobilization, rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, heel lift, cast, crutches, change of shoe gear, physiotherapy, stretching/strengthening the Achilles tendon and calf muscle, custom biomechanical orthotic devices, change of activities, surgery.