Achilles Tendinitis

December 28, 2016 | By | Reply READ MORE...

– Dr. Sneha Parekh

Have you ever experienced pain around the back of the heel? Does that pain increase with activities? Is the pain more when you wake up from sleep?
If yes, you may be suffering from a condition called as ‘ACHILLES TENDINITIS’.

Achilles Tendinitis

A tendon is a fibrous tissue which connects the muscle to the bone. Its function is to transfer the load from muscle to the bone when you are performing some activity. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and connects the calf muscles to the heel. It has to transfer the load when you walk, jump or run. When the load increases, it gets inflamed. Achilles tendinitis is an acute, inflammatory injury that is commonly seen in athletes (specially runners and jumpers) and active individuals.

Achilles Tendinitis

CAUSES:

The problem of Achilles tendinitis results from repetitive stress to the tendon and often happens when we push our bodies beyond our capacity. It is not typically related to a specific injury. Following are the few common causes of Achilles tendinitis:

  • A sudden change in type of exercise or increase in amount of intensity of exercises. Example, increasing the speed and distance of running without giving the body a chance to adjust to the new speed and distance.
  • Wearing old or poorly fitted shoes.
  • If you have tight calf muscles and if you suddenly start an aggressive exercise program, it can put extra stress to Achilles tendon.
  • Extra bone growth (bone spur) where tendon attaches to heel bone can rub against tendon and cause pain.
  • Flat feet or pronated feet.

SYMPTOMS:

  • Pain and stiffness along the back of the heel in morning.
  • Pain at the back of the heel that worsens with activity
  • Swelling that gets worse with activity and is generally present throughout the day.
  • Severe pain after activities.
  • Thickening of tendon

INVESTIGATIONS:
Ultrasonography (USG): It is the gold standard for diagnosing an Achilles tendinitis. It is an efficient and accurate way of assessing the achilles tendon. Hyperemia may be present around the tendon due to inflammation.
Other investigations like MRI and X-Rays are generally not required.

TREATMENT:

  • Rest – it is important to reduce or stop activities that make the pain worse. This is the first step for reducing pain.
  • Cryotherapy – icing 3-4 times a day will help in reducing pain and inflammation.
  • Anti inflammatory medicines – your doctor may prescribe you medicines for pain relief and reduction of inflammation.
  • Exercises – your physiotherapist may recommend you the following:
  • Tight calf muscles are generally seen in cases of Achilles tendinitis. So gentle stretching of these muscles is recommended
  • It should be followed by strengthening of the muscles
  • Supportive shoes and orthotics – these will help in supporting and correcting the arches of your foot. When you have flat feet, it changes the biomechanics of your lower limb by changing the alignment. The orthotics will help in correcting that alignment.

PROGNOSIS:
The prognosis of Achilles tendinitis is good. It generally heals within 4 to 6 weeks. Rest and avoid running while it is inflamed.

We at PHYSIOREHAB, do a detailed evaluation and plan an individualized program for treatment of Achilles tendinitis. We also do an evaluation of your foot alignment and prescribe the necessary orthotics for preventive and rehabilitative purposes.

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