Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon. Tendons are thick cords of tissue that connect muscles to bone. Achilles tendinitis, or an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, is
one of the most common causes of foot or ankle pain. Other types of foot/ankle tendinitis include posterior tibial tendinitis and peroneal tendinitis.
Achilles tendinitis is caused by repeated stress to the tendon, not a direct injury. Often times, this can happen from doing too much too soon and not giving your body enough time to rest or adjust
to the increase in intensity or amount of exercise. Another contributing factor can be tight calf muscles. Having tight calf muscles and starting an activity can put added stress on the achilles
People with Achilles tendinitis may experience pain during and after exercising. Running and jumping activities become painful and difficult. Symptoms include stiffness and pain in the back of the
ankle when pushing off the ball of the foot. For patients with chronic tendinitis (longer than six weeks), x-rays may reveal calcification (hardening of the tissue) in the tendon. Chronic tendinitis
can result in a breakdown of the tendon, or tendinosis, which weakens the tendon and may cause a rupture.
There is enlargement and warmth of the tendon 1 to 4 inches above its heel insertion. Pain and sometimes a scratching feeling may be created by gently squeezing the tendon between the thumb and
forefinger during ankle motion. There may be weakness in push-off strength with walking. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can define the extent of degeneration, the degree to which the tendon sheath
is involved and the presence of other problems in this area, but the diagnosis is mostly clinical.
The recommended treatment for Achilles tendinitis consists of icing, gentle stretching, and modifying or limiting activity. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or
aspirin, can reduce pain and swelling. Physical therapy and the use of an orthotic (heel lift) can also be helpful. For chronic cases where tendinosis is evident and other methods of treatment have
failed, surgery may be recommended to remove and repair the damaged tissue.
Treating this surgically, there are numerous methods to repair the tendon. Most commonly, Achilles tendon is exposed through an incision at the back of the ankle. After identifying both ends of
ruptured tendon, the edges got trimmed and then both ends were sutured together with optimal tension. To get a better outcome with fixation, an anchor may have to be in place in calcaneus, provided
the rupture is very low. Care must be taken to avoid injuries to the nerves located adjacent to the tendon.
Suggestions to reduce your risk of Achilles tendonitis include, incorporate stretching into your warm-up and cool-down routines, maintain an adequate level of fitness for your sport, avoid dramatic
increases in sports training, if you experience pain in your Achilles tendon, rest the area. Trying to ?work through? the pain will only make your injury worse, wear good quality supportive shoes
appropriate to your sport. If there is foot deformity or flattening, obtain orthoses, avoid wearing high heels on a regular basis. Maintaining your foot in a ?tiptoe? position shortens your calf
muscles and reduces the flexibility of your Achilles tendon. An inflexible Achilles tendon is more susceptible to injury, maintain a normal healthy weight.