is a condition of irritation and inflammation of the large tendon in the back of the ankle. Achilles tendonitis is a common injury that tends to occur in recreational athletes. Overuse of the
Achilles tendon can cause inflammation that can lead to pain and swelling. Achilles tendonitis is differentiated from another common Achilles tendon condition called Achilles tendinosis. Patients
with Achilles tendinosis have chronic Achilles swelling and pain as a result of degenerative, microscopic tears within the tendon.
The calf is under a lot of strain when running: it is not only put on stretch during landing of the foot, but it also has to produce the tension needed to support body weight and absorb the shock of
landing. This is what is called an ?eccentric load?. Excessive eccentric loading - either by way of a dramatic increase in mileage, or excessive hill running, or faulty running posture - could very
well be the cause of a runner?s achilles tendinitis. The calf strain translates downward into the achilles tendon where it attaches to the heel, and inflammation ensues. Inflammation then causes
scarring and fibrosis of tissues, which in turn inflicts pain upon stretching or use. Risk factors for Achilles tendinitis also include spending prolonged amounts of time standing or walking.
Recurring localized pain, sometimes severe, along the tendon during or a few hours after running. Morning tenderness about an inch and a half above the point where the Achilles tendon is attached to
the heel bone. Sluggishness in your leg. Mild or severe swelling. Stiffness that generally diminishes as the tendon warms up with use.
If you think you might have Achilles tendonitis, check in with your doctor before it gets any worse. Your doc will ask about the activities you've been doing and will examine your leg, foot, ankle,
and knee for range of motion. If your pain is more severe, the doctor may also make sure you haven't ruptured (torn) your Achilles tendon. To check this, the doc might have you lie face down and bend
your knee while he or she presses on your calf muscles to see if your foot flexes. Any flexing of the foot means the tendon is at least partly intact. It's possible that the doctor might also order
an X-ray or MRI scan of your foot and leg to check for fractures, partial tears of the tendon, or signs of a condition that might get worse. Foot and ankle pain also might be a sign of other overuse
injuries that can cause foot and heel pain, like plantar fasciitis and Sever's disease. If you also have any problems like these, they also need to be treated.
Self-care strategies include the following steps, often known by the acronym R.I.C.E, Rest. You may need to avoid exercise for several days or switch to an activity that doesn't strain the Achilles
tendon, such as swimming. In severe cases, you may need to wear a walking boot and use crutches. Ice. To decrease pain or swelling, apply an ice pack to the tendon for about 15 minutes after
exercising or when you experience pain. Compression. Wraps or compressive elastic bandages can help reduce swelling and reduce movement of the tendon. Elevation. Raise the affected foot above the
level of your heart to reduce swelling. Sleep with your affected foot elevated at night.
Chronic Achilles tendon tears can be more complicated to repair. A tendon that has torn and retracted (pulled back) into the leg will scar in the shortened position over time. Restoring normal tendon
length is usually not an issue when surgery is performed within a few weeks of the injury. However, when there has been a delay of months or longer, the treatment can be more complicated. Several
procedures can be used to add length to a chronic Achilles tear. A turndown procedure uses tissue folded down from the top of the calf to add length to the Achilles tendon. Tendon transfers from
other tendons of the ankle can also be performed to help restore function of the Achilles. The results of surgery in a chronic situation are seldom as good as an acute repair. However, in some
patients, these procedures can help restore function of a chronically damaged Achilles.
Your podiatrist will work with you to decrease your chances of re-developing tendinitis. He or she may create custom orthotics to help control the motion of your feet. He or she may also recommend
certain stretches or exercises to increase the tendon's elasticity and strengthen the muscles attached to the tendon. Gradually increasing your activity level with an appropriate training
schedule-building up to a 5K run, for instance, instead of simply tackling the whole course the first day-can also help prevent tendinitis.