What is Achilles tendonitis?
Your achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body. It attaches your calf muscle to your heel bone and enables your foot to move so you can walk, run and jump. Achilles tendonitis is a condition where this tendon becomes inflamed and painful. Pain may be felt low down near the back of your heel or higher up through your calf muscle.
What causes Achilles tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis can be caused by a single episode of tendon overload or more commonly, recurrent overload over a period of time. Achilles tendonitis can be caused by a number of contributing factors including excessive pronation of your feet, weak muscles, poor flexibility, over training, direct trauma to the tendon or poor footwear.
Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis has a number of presentations depending on the severity of the tendon injury. The most common symptom is pain and swelling along the length of your achilles tendon. You may experience stiffness early in the morning with pain most frequently present whilst walking or during strenuous weight-bearing activity. If left untreated this condition will worsen and it will become difficult to weight bear on your foot.
Treatment for Achilles tendonitis
Our podiatrist will assess your achilles tendon to identify the site of the injury and to determine the primary cause of the injury. You may be referred for an ultrasound to quantify our diagnosis and then you will be advised of an appropriate treatment and rehabilitation plan to help you recover. Our podiatrist will advise you how to reduce the inflammation and strengthen your injured tendon. Treatment may also include a change in footwear and the use of orthotics to correct your gait and reduce the risk of future injury. Shockwave therapy may also be recommended to increase blood supply to the injured area and to speed up recovery.
If left untreated achilles tendonitis can develop into a more severe condition known as achilles tendinosis, which causes degenerative change to the tendon and is more difficult to treat.
If you would like more information on how to treat Achilles tendonitis or heel pain (Achilles tendinosis), please call our Brunswick or Sandringham Foot Clinic for more information.