Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles (uh-KIL-eez) tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone.
Achilles tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It's also common in middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball, only on the weekends.
Most cases of Achilles tendinitis can be treated with relatively simple, at-home care under your doctor's supervision. Self-care strategies are usually necessary to prevent recurring episodes. More-serious cases of Achilles tendinitis can lead to tendon tears (ruptures) that may require surgical repair.
The pain associated with Achilles tendinitis typically begins as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after running or other sports activity. Episodes of more severe pain may occur after prolonged running, stair climbing or sprinting.
You might also experience tenderness or stiffness, especially in the morning, which usually improves with mild activity.
When to see a doctor
Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles (uh-KIL-eez) tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone. ...
Achilles tendinitis is caused by repetitive or intense strain on the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. This tendon is used when you walk, run, jump or push up on your toes.
The structure of the Achilles tendon weakens with age, which can make it more susceptible to injury — particularly in people who may participate in sports only on the weekends or who have suddenly increased the intensity of their running programs.
A number of factors may increase your risk of Achilles tendinitis, including:
Achilles tendinitis can weaken the tendon, making it more vulnerable to a tear (rupture) — a painful injury that usually requires surgical repair.
Preparing for your appointment
You'll likely first bring your symptoms to the attention of your family doctor. He or she might refer you to a doctor specializing in sports medicine or physical and rehabilitative medicine (physiatrist). If your Achilles tendon has ruptured, you may need to see an orthopedic surgeon.
What you can do
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
During the physical exam, your doctor will gently press on the affected area to determine the location of pain, tenderness or swelling. He or she will also evaluate the flexibility, alignment, range of motion and reflexes of your foot and ankle.
Treatments and drugs
Tendinitis usually responds well to self-care measures. But if your signs and symptoms are severe or persistent, your doctor might suggest other treatment options.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Self-care strategies include the following steps, often known by the acronym R.I.C.E.:
While it may not be possible to prevent Achilles tendinitis, you can take measures to reduce your risk:
Last Updated: 2012-10-02
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