Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles Tendinopathy

(Achilles Tendonitis; Achilles Tendinosis)

Definition

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle at the heel bone. Achilles tendinopathy is pain in this tendon.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles Tendonitis
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The exact cause is not known. It is thought to be from overuse from:

  • Increasing speed or running long distances too quickly
  • Suddenly adding hills or stair climbing to an exercise routine
  • Stressing the calf muscles too soon after taking time away from exercising
  • Putting sudden stress on the calf muscles when they are not ready for stress

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in men and older adults. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Certain lower leg problems, such as lack of flexibility, poor range of motion, or a foot that turns inward too much
  • Certain health problems, such as obesity and diabetes
  • A poor training program, such as activity on hard surfaces or hills
  • Wearing poor footwear
  • Certain medicines, such as corticosteroids

Symptoms

Symptoms of tendinopathy may include:

  • Pain and stiffness above the heel bone
  • Problems that happen when bearing weight after rest, such as after sleeping
  • Swelling at the tendon
  • Problems wearing shoes
  • Decreased strength in the tendon

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will be asked about the activities that you do. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on your lower leg. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

If the diagnosis is unclear, images may be taken. This can be done with

Treatment

Treatment depends on the tendon and how badly it is damaged. Options are:

  • Supportive care with rest and ice
  • Ankle taping to support the tendon
  • Shoe inserts
  • Medicines to ease pain and swelling
  • Physical therapy
  • Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) to stimulate healing

Some people may need surgery when other methods do not help.

Prevention

This problem may be prevented by:

  • Wearing proper footwear
  • Slowly increasing activities
  • Stretching and strengthening the calf muscles

RESOURCES:

American College of Sports Medicine
http://acsm.org
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://orthoinfo.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Orthopaedic Association
http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
http://www.canorth.org

References:

Achilles tendinitis. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated June 2010. Accessed July 29, 2020.
Achilles tendinopathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/achilles-tendinopathy. Updated April 30, 2018. Accessed July 29, 2020.
Achilles tendon disorders. Foot Health Facts—American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed July 29, 2020.
Derry S, Moore RA, Gaskell H, McIntyre M, Wiffen PJ. Topical NSAIDS for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Syst Rev. 2015;(6):CD007402.
Maffulli N, Via AG, et al. Chronic Achilles Tendon Disorders: Tendinopathy and Chronic Rupture. Clin Sports Med. 2015 Oct;34(4):607-624.
McCormack JR, Underwood FB, Slaven EJ. Eccentric exercise versus eccentric exercise and soft tissue treatment (Astym) in the management of insertional Achilles Tendinopathy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Sports Health.2016;8(3):230-237.
Zwiers R, Wiegerinck JI, van Dijk CN. Treatment of midportion Achilles tendinopathy: an evidence-based overview. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2016;24(7):2103-2111.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT
Last Updated: 3/10/2021

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Home |Terms and Conditions |Concerned About Privacy? |Accessibility |Careers |For Employers and Medical Plan Providers

You may also be looking for: CVS/pharmacy | MinuteClinic | Specialty Pharmacy | SilverScript | Accordant