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Achilles Tendonitis – Overview

January 21, 2021


"Achilles tendonitis is inflammation involved in the tendon in the back part of the lower leg. The tendon is a tough, flexible structure made mostly out of collagen that allows muscles to act on our bones and joints. In this case, the Achilles tendon is the structure that allows the large muscles of the calf to push the foot downward and launch a person upward or forward. The Achilles tendon is especially at risk in sprinting and jumping. Tendonitis is an overuse or strain condition, which causes inflammation within and around the tendon. Achilles tendonitis symptoms typically include pain in the back part of the heel and leg. Sometimes with a mild to moderate amount of swelling, the pain is usually worse with activity or use a doctor or a therapist can be consulted in any case of suspected Achilles tendonitis. And a treatment plan can be initiated. Other causes of heel pain, such as plantar fasciitis, and calcaneal stress fractures can also be ruled out. In most cases, the Achilles tendonitis is due to either overuse or abuse of a certain tendon though, age and tightness of the posterior chain muscles. Meaning the hamstring and calf muscles can also be risk factors. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Neproxin, ibuprofen, Meloxicam, or diclofenac may be used in treating Achilles tendonitis. They're often prescribed for a two to three week period to be taken every day so that they can over time work on gradually improving the inflammation. These medications can often be used for a few weeks to help combat the longstanding inflammation that's present though. Caution should be taken, especially in cases where the patient has a history of gastric ulcers or kidney disease. As NSAID medications can affect these systems. Patients who are on a blood thinner also must be careful with these medications. Anybody with any potential NSAID problems or interactions should ask their own doctor prior to taking them. Stretches, massage and therapy, especially to stretch the posterior chain muscles and the plantar fascia are also commonly used. Ice and rest can be helpful as well. Achilles tendonitis can be treated at home often successfully, though patients may benefit from the expertise of a physical therapist to demonstrate certain stretches or exercises that can be helpful. Modalities such as ultrasound or shockwave therapy may also be tried. Injections are sometimes tried for Achilles tendonitis. Thankfully surgery is rarely needed for the treatment of Achilles tendonitis since most cases resolve without it. Only in severe cases that failed to respond to all other treatments, should the idea of surgery for tendonitis be entertained. In surgical repair, the tendon is debrited of diseased or injured tissue and then reinserted into the bone using sutures and or anchors. A tendon transfer may be considered in some cases. Surgery has a high success rate, but as with any procedure, there is a risk of complications."

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