Tendinitis is inflammation of a
tendon. Thus, Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The inflammation may be localized to the end of the tendon closest to the heel or may spread upward to affect even the
muscles of the calf. Swelling often occurs and pain is felt upon contraction of the calf muscles. In severe cases, pain may be felt even at rest. Generally, Achilles tendinitis begins as a dull pain
at the back of the lower leg just above the heel when pushing off the ground with the foot. Unless the activity is stopped, the condition rapidly gets worse until any activity requiring a push-off
from the ground by the foot becomes quite painful and nearly impossible. If it is left untreated, it can develop into one of two more serious conditions - Achilles tendinosis and Insertional Calcific
Tendinitis most often occurs when a tendon is over used. As the foot extends the Achilles tendon engages the calf muscles. The calf muscle generates force, which is transferred to the foot via this
tendon. As this action repeats the tendon will endure large amounts of stress. An under-trained or inexperienced athlete is most likely to be affected by tendinitis since their body is not accustomed
to the stress involved with athletics. Improper foot mechanics is another common cause of Achilles tendinitis. A properly functioning foot will distribute weight evenly across the foot. On the
contrary, if the foot is experiencing improper mechanics, the weight of the body will not be evenly distributed. This can result in tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, calluses, bunions, neuromas and much
Symptoms include pain in the heel and along the tendon when walking or running. The area may feel painful and stiff in the morning. The tendon may be painful to touch or move. The area may be swollen
and warm. You may have trouble standing up on one toe.
To confirm the diagnosis and consider what might be causing the problem, it?s important to see your doctor or a physiotherapist. Methods used to make a diagnosis may include, medical history,
including your exercise habits and footwear, physical examination, especially examining for thickness and tenderness of the Achilles tendon, tests that may include an x-ray of the foot, ultrasound
and occasionally blood tests (to test for an inflammatory condition), and an MRI scan of the tendon.
Treatment for achilles tendonitis is based around initially reducing pain and inflammation, stretching the muscles out and a gradual return to activity. No one single approach may cure achilles
tendonitis, particularly a chronic condition but a combination of treatment approaches and patience will work best. It is essential the correct treatment is started as soon as possible in the acute
stage to avoid the injury becoming chronic. Acute achilles tendonitis requires rest. Continuing to train on a painful achilles tendon could lead to the injury becoming chronic and more difficult to
treat. Applying ice or cold therapy as soon as possible to a painful achilles tendon will reduce pain and inflammation. After the first 24 to 48 hours alternating hot and cold or just heat may be
more beneficial. Tendons work better when they are warm but if they are painful then rest and ice. Wear a heel pad to raise the heel and shorten the calf muscles which in turn reduces some of the
strain on the achilles tendon. This should only be a temporary measure while the achilles tendon is healing. An achilles tendon taping technique can aid rest by supporting the tendon with elastic
bandages. This is an excellent way of taking the load off the tendon if you have to walk around on your feet as well as protecting the tendon when returning to full fitness. Achilles tendon
exercisesMake sure you have the right running shoes for your foot type and the sport. If you are a runner that over-pronates then a motion control or support running shoe may be needed. Visit a
specialist running shop for advice. In the later stages apply heat, especially before exercise. The tendon will perform better when warm. Finish with cold after training to reduce any
There are two types of Achilles repair surgery for tendonitis (inflammation of the Achilles Tendon), if nonsurgical treatments aren't effective. Gastrocnemius recession - The orthopaedic surgeon
lengthens the calf muscles to reduce stress on your Achilles tendon. D?bridement and repair - During this procedure, the surgeon removes the damaged part of the Achilles tendon and repairs the
remaining tendon with sutures or stitches. Debridement is done when the tendon has less than 50% damage.
Stretching of the gastrocnemius (keep knee straight) and soleus (keep knee bent) muscles. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, relax slowly. Repeat stretches 2 - 3 times per day. Remember to stretch
well before running strengthening of foot and calf muscles (eg, heel raises) correct shoes, specifically motion-control shoes and orthotics to correct overpronation. Gradual progression of training
programme. Avoid excessive hill training. Incorporate rest into training programme.