Achilles tendinitis is inflammation of the Achilles (uh-KIL-eez) tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone.
Achilles tendinitis is often a running injury or other sport-related injury resulting from overuse, intense exercise, jumping, or other activities that strain the tendon and calf muscles.
Most cases of Achilles tendinitis can be treated with persistent, relatively simple, at-home care under your doctor's supervision. Self-care strategies are usually necessary to prevent recurring episodes.
More serious cases of Achilles tendinitis can lead to tendon tears (ruptures) and may require surgery to repair damaged tissues.
The most common sign of Achilles tendinitis is pain that develops gradually and worsens over time. Signs and symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include:
When to see a doctor
While waiting for an appointment, you may alleviate pain with the following measures:
Get immediate care if the pain or disability is severe. You may have a torn, or ruptured, Achilles tendon if you:
Achilles tendinitis is inflammation of the tendon that links your leg muscles to the back of your heel bone. ...
Achilles tendinitis, or inflammation of the tendon, is caused by repetitive or intense strain on the tendon.
Your Achilles tendon is a large band of tissue connecting the muscles in the back of your lower leg to your heel bone. Also called the heel cord, the Achilles tendon is used when you walk, run, jump or push up on your toes.
A number of factors may contribute to the onset of Achilles tendinitis:
Achilles tendinitis can progress to a degenerative condition called Achilles tendinosis. This change in the structure of the tendon weakens it and makes it more vulnerable to severe damage. Degeneration of the Achilles tendon can result in a tear, or rupture, which is a painful injury that usually requires surgery to repair the damaged tendon.
Preparing for your appointment
If you're experiencing pain and other symptoms that may be caused by Achilles tendinitis, you'll likely begin by seeing your family doctor or general practitioner. You may be referred to a doctor specializing in sports medicine or a specialist in disorders of bones, tendons and joints (orthopedist) or a specialist in physical and rehabilitative medicine (physiatrist).
What to expect from your doctor
Questions you can prepare to ask your doctor include the following:
Tests and diagnosis
A diagnosis of Achilles tendinitis is based on your answers to questions, results of a physical examination and, if necessary, imaging tests.
Treatments and drugs
Tendinitis is usually treated with relatively simple interventions, but successful treatment requires patience and careful adherence to treatment guidelines. Your doctor is likely to recommend a combination of interventions for Achilles tendinitis:
Long-term use of NSAIDs can cause stomach pain, stomach bleeding, ulcers and other side effects. Talk to your doctor about how long you should take your medication and how he or she will monitor you for side effects.
Stretching and exercise
While it may not be possible to prevent Achilles tendinitis, you can take measures to reduce your risk:
Lifestyle and home remedies
If you think you may have Achilles tendinitis, help speed your recovery and prevent further problems by trying these at-home care methods:
Be sure to talk to your doctor if you feel you need NSAIDs for an extended time because some of these drugs should be used for only short periods — around seven to 10 days — to avoid complications.
If you take NSAIDs frequently or take more than the recommended dose, these medications can cause stomach pain, stomach bleeding and ulcers. Rarely, prolonged use can disrupt normal kidney function. If you have liver problems, talk to your doctor before using products containing acetaminophen.
Last Updated: 2010-04-29
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