Achilles Tendon

The Achilles tendon crosses the black of the heel, which means it rides over the bone as the muscle contracts and stretches. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon can be very painful; all of the body’s weight is supported by this structure and footwear often presses against this area. Repetitive stress to the tendon can lead to inflammation that causes additional irritation and further inflammation.

Activities such as basketball, running, volleyball and other running and jumping sports can lead to Achilles tendinitis.

Repetitive contraction of the muscles in the calf and improper footwear or excessive pronation of the feet can lead to inflammation in the tendon.

Cause of injury

Repetitive stress from running and jumping activities. Improper footwear or awkward landing pattern of the foot during running. Untreated injuries to the calf or Achilles tendon.

Signs and symptoms

Pain and tenderness in the tendon. Swelling may be present. Contraction of the calf muscle causes pain; running and jumping may be difficult.

Complications if left unattended

Inflammation in the tendon can lead to deterioration of the tendon and eventual rupture if left untreated. Inflammation may lead to tightening of the tendon and attached muscle which could lead to tearing.

Immediate treatment

Rest, reducing or discontinuing the offending activity. Ice. Anti-inflammatory medication. Then heat and massage to promote blood flow and healing.

Rehabilitation and prevention

After a period of rest, usually lasting 5-10 days, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can be initiated. Heat may be used on the tendon before activity to warm-up, along with strengthening and stretching exercises for the calves, will help prevent tendinitis of the Achilles tendon.

Long-term prognosis

Tendinitis seldom has lingering effects if treated properly. Tendinitis may take from five days to several weeks to heal but rarely needs surgery to repair it.

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