Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the tendon, which usually occurs as a result of overuse injury. Anyone can have Achilles tendonitis. Athletics involving
frequent jumping is the classic cause, but certainly not the only one. Any activity requiring a constant pushing off the foot, such as running or dancing, may result in swelling of the tendon.
The cause of paratenonitis is not well understood although there is a correlation with a recent increase in the intensity of running or jumping workouts. It can be associated with repetitive
activities which overload the tendon structure, postural problems such as flatfoot or high-arched foot, or footwear and training issues such as running on uneven or excessively hard ground or running
on slanted surfaces. Tendinosis is also associated with the aging process.
Most cases of Achilles tendonitis start out slowly, with very little pain, and then grow worse over time. Some of the more common symptoms include mild pain or an ache above the heel and in the lower
leg, especially after running or doing other physical activities, pain that gets worse when walking uphill, climbing stairs, or taking part in intense or prolonged exercise, stiffness and tenderness
in the heel, especially in the morning, that gradually goes away, swelling or hard knots of tissue in the Achilles tendon, a creaking or crackling sound when moving the ankle or pressing on the
Achilles tendon, weakness in the affected leg.
The diagnosis is made via discussion with your doctor and physical examination. Typically, imaging studies are not needed to make the diagnosis. However, in some cases, an ultrasound is useful in
looking for evidence of degenerative changes in the tendon and to rule out tendon rupture. An MRI can be used for similar purposes, as well. Your physician will determine whether or not further
studies are necessary.
If caught early enough, simple physical therapy that you can do by yourself should be fine. Over the counter solutions as easy as pain medication, cold compresses, a different pair of shoes, or a new
set of stretching exercises can make most of the symptoms of Achilles tendinitis disappear. Further trouble or extreme pain should be regarded as a sign that something more serious is wrong, and you
should immediately consult a doctor or physician. They will look to see whether non-surgical or surgical methods are your best options, and from there you can determine what your budget is for
dealing with the condition.
Not every Achilles tendon injury or condition requires surgery. It is generally understood by doctors and surgeons, that surgery will introduce more scar tissue into the Achilles tendon. This added
scar tissue will be problematic, requiring physical therapy and conservative treatment options post-surgery. If not dealt with properly, your ankle and Achilles tendon could end up in worse condition
than before the surgery! This is why surgery is only performed as a last resort.
There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of Achilles tendinitis, warm up every time before you exercise or play a sport. Switch up your exercises. Slowly increase the length and
intensity of your workouts. Keep your muscles active and stay in shape all year-round. When you see symptoms of Achilles tendinitis, stop whatever activity you are doing and rest.