Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is a common overuse condition of the ankle, frequently seen in patients participating in running and jumping activities. The Achilles tendon is the thick rope-like structure in the back of the leg that attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone (the calcaneus). Pain occurs in the back of the heel and tends to hurt most commonly either at the middle portion of the tendon or where the tendon attaches to the heel bone. Most patients will have pain with running, climbing stairs, jumping or walking on their tip-toes. Symptoms may last for months in some patients.

Achilles tendonitis is frequently diagnosed by physical examination alone. An x-ray or MRI may be performed, but is not typically required to make the diagnosis. If an injury has occurred where a patient feels a pop in the back of their heel, develops a lot of swelling or bruising around the Achilles tendon and is unable to easily point their foot down, further evaluation should made by a physician for a possible Achilles tendon rupture.

Treatment for Achilles tendonitis may include icing, stretching, strengthening programs, medication, heel lifts and decreasing the activity that increases pain. Footwear should also be evaluated as older footwear may contribute to faulty mechanics and lead to pain. Cortisone injections are usually not performed for Achilles tendonitis as it may lead to an Achilles tendon rupture.

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