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July 27, 2014

Injury Report: Achilles Tendinitis

achilles

Cause

Achilles tendinitis is typically not related to a specific injury. The problem results from repetitive stress to the tendon. This often happens when we push our bodies to do too much, too soon, but other factors can make it more likely to develop tendinitis, including:

  • A bone spur that has developed where the tendon attaches to the heel bone.
  • Doing excessive exercise without allowing your body time to adjust
  • Having tight calf muscles and suddenly starting an aggressive exercise program

Symptoms

• Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon in the morning

• Pain along the tendon or back of the heel that worsens with activity

• Severe pain the day after exercising

• Thickening of the tendon

• Bone spur (insertional tendinitis)

• Swelling that is present all the time and gets worse throughout the day with activity

If you have experienced a sudden “pop” in the back of your calf or heel, you may have ruptured (torn) your Achilles tendon. See your doctor immediately if you think you may have torn your tendon.

Nonsurgical Treatment

In most cases, nonsurgical treatment options will provide pain relief, although it may take a few months for symptoms to completely go away.

  • Rest. Decrease or even stop the activities that make the pain worse. Especially stop high-impact activity and sports like running and jumping.
  • Ice. 4-5x/day for 15 minutes, especially after activity.
  • Inflammatory medication. Drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen may reduce pain and swelling.
  • Supportive shoes and orthotics.  Shoes that are softer at the back of the heel can reduce irritation of the tendon. In addition, heel lifts can take some strain off the tendon.
  • Exercise and/or Physical Therapy.

EXERCISE

• Calf stretch

• Bilateral heel drop off the edge of a stair- go up onto your toes and then slowly back down to get a stretch. Go slowly to focus on the Eccentric part of the contraction.

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