Achilles Tendonitis Symptoms | Causes | Treatment
Achilles tendonitis or tendonopathy can be a very painful condition. Tendonitis is a condition where the tendon, the tissue that connects a muscle to a bone, gets inflamed. The inflammation then causes pain. The Achilles tendon is located at the back of the calf and is the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel. Achilles tendonopathy then is the acute inflammation of the Achilles tendon on the back of the calf. It is a condition commonly seen in runners.
There are many known causes for Achilles Tendonopathy. Simply put, the cause is due to an overuse or excessive use of the Achilles tendon. This can happen when the runner has recently changed parts of their routine, such as, increasing the distance or speed typically ran. Running up hills or inclines that the runner has not become accustomed to can also cause stress on the tendon. Achilles tendonitis also may be caused by poorly fitting shoes that do not provide adequate heel or ankle support.
Symptom of Achilles tendonitis can occur slowly and then progressively get more painful. One of the first signs will be pain along the Achilles tendon following exercise. It may also present itself through stiffness and pain along the Achilles tendon after awakening. At times visible swelling and inflammation will be present. The pain and swelling will continue to get worse if it is left untreated.
The tendopathy must be treated; otherwise the swelling and pain will increase to the point where running is impossible and any movement painful. The condition can also worsen and the tendon may rupture which will most likely warrant a surgery.
Treatment includes placing an ice pack on the affected area to help reduce inflammation. Taking an NSAID pain reliever such as ibuprofen or Aleve will also reduce swelling. It is important to take the time to rest the tendon and be careful not to overstretch it while it is healing. A tight compression wrap can be applied to immobilize the tendon to give it time to rest and heal. Shoes should be examined to see that they provide the adequate support and have not gotten old and overused. Learning stretching techniques will also help to heal the affected area and prevent further damage in the future. If these basic measures do not help, medical attention should be sought.