Achilles Pain

The Achilles tendon runs down the back of your ankle and connects your calf muscle to your heel bone. This powerful tendon is responsible for raising your heel off the ground when you walk or run. Achilles pain is usually the result of overuse and is referred to as either Achilles tendonitis or Achilles tendonosis. Achilles tendonitis is classified by the short-term inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Achilles tendonosis is classified as the degeneration of the Achilles tendon that can result in tendon rupture, and can occur if Achilles tendonitis is not treated.

Did You Know?

Individuals with flat arches are more prone to experience Achilles pain because their Achilles tendon is under greater stress than the average person’s. To reduce the chances of developing Achilles tendonitis or tendonosis, people with flat arches are encouraged to wear shoes with proper support and stretch their calf muscles daily.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I have Achilles tendonitis or Achilles tendonosis?

You may have Achilles tendonitis or Achilles tendonosis if you are experiencing aching, stiffness, soreness, or tenderness within your Achilles tendon. This pain can be located anywhere from above the heel to the bottom of your calf and is worse after periods of rest, but gradually improves with limited activity. The Achilles tendon will also be more tender to the touch along the sides of the tendon. If the condition has begun to progress to Achilles tendonososis, the tendon may enlarge and develop bumps where the tissue has begun to degenerate.

How is Achilles tendonitis or Achilles tendonosis diagnosed?

Prior to making a diagnosis, Dr. Alan Robbins will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. Next, he will perform a physical exam of your foot by gently testing your range of motion to determine the condition of the tendon. In some cases, additional testing or diagnostic imaging, such as a CT scan, MRI, or X-ray, may be required.

How will my Achilles tendonitis or Achilles tendonosis be treated?

Your individual treatment plan will depend upon how long the injury has been present and how much damage has been done. Early stages of Achilles tendonitis can usually be treated with non-surgical treatments, while more severe cases and Achilles tendonosis may require surgical intervention.

Non-surgical Achilles tendonitis treatments include:

• Immobilization: uses a cast or removable walking boot to rest the tendon and allow it to begin the healing process
• Ice: reduces swelling and inflammation
• Medications: Oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and inflammation
• Orthotics: custom-made for those with overpronation or gait abnormalities
• Night Splints: keep the Achilles tendon stretched when sleeping, decreasing pain in the morning
• Physical Therapy: uses strengthening exercises, soft tissue massage, mobilization, gait training, stretches, and ultrasound therapy to improve symptoms