The Achilles tendon connects the muscles of the calf and lower leg to the heel bone. When it is stretched beyond its limits, it can become inflamed (called tendonitis) or tear (also known as a rupture). Injuries to the Achilles tendon can cause mild to severe pain and stiffness. Achilles tendonitis can come on from a variety of reasons, including sudden increase in exercise, insufficient stretching of the calf muscle, flat feet, a bony spur on the back of the ankle, or leg length differences. The pain one feels with this inflammatory condition can be felt near the bottom of the calf muscle, along the tendon, or near the heel bone and is described as a burning sensation that worsens with activity. There may be mild swelling and warmth in the affected area and some stiffness, especially before warming up. Untreated, tendonitis can progress to tendinosis, which is when the collagen fibers that make up the tendon break down. There is no inflammation with tendinosis, but scar tissue may result from this and lead to permanent thickening. An Achilles tendon rupture is rarer but happens when the tendon fibers tear and separate completely or in part. This can occur from sudden force being exerted on the tendon, severe overstretching causing the tendon to tear, or taking a type of antibiotic called fluoroquinolones. This will bring on severe heel pain and an inability to walk or bear weight on the foot. If you feel Achilles tendon pain, it is best to consult with a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment that is right for you.
Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact one of our podiatrists of the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
What Is the Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can create immense difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.
What Are the Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?
There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common injuries are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.
Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms
- Dull to severe pain
- Increased blood flow to the tendon
- Thickening of the tendon
- Extreme pain and swelling in the foot
- Total immobility
Treatment and Prevention
Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation, which can include an MRI. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:
- Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise
- Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses
If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, LA . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.