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Achilles Tendonitis/Tendinosis

Definition:

Achilles Tendonitis/Tendinosis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon.

Causes:

Achilles Tendonitis/Tendinosis is most often caused by:

  • Overuse or repetitive motion during sports, work or other activities.
  • Injury from repeated push-offs or a stop-and-go motion, common in activities such as running, basketball, tennis or ballet dancing.
  • Poor conditioning or poor warm-up.
  • Shoes that do no cushion the heel or support the arch sufficiently.
Symptoms:

Symptoms may include:

  • Mild or severe pain in the back of the heel, sometimes with swelling.
  • Tenderness in the Achilles tendon area, which may be more noticeable in the morning.
  • Stiffness that subsides as the tendon warms up with use.
  • Decreased strength and movement, or a feeling of sluggishness in the leg.
Treatment:

Treatment may include:

  • Rest, avoiding any hard or intense activity for 6 to 12 weeks and until symptoms go away.
  • Modification of sports/activities that may have caused the tendinopathy.
  • Wearing well-cushioned shoes, heel pads, or orthotics if they help relieve pain.
  • Reducing pain by using ice or taking over-the-counter pain relievers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories.
  • Gentle stretching, daily  and before strenuous activity.
  • Physical therapy, including stretching and strengthening exercises, massage, heat or ultrasound.
  • Use of  a night brace or walking boot, depending on severity
  • Surgery, if pain persists after more than six months of consistent treatment and rest
Learn about common causes of foot and ankle pain and how physical therapy treatment can help.
South Sound Physical & Hand Therapy Pain Guide