Achilles Tendon Pain

Achilles Tendonitis

The achilles tendon is a thick rope-like structure that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. The purpose of this strong tendon is to allow us to stand on our toes and propel our body when walking and running. The use, and sometimes overuse, of this muscle-tendon-bone complex can lead to pain to the achilles tendon and surrounding structures.

Achilles tendonitis can often be a general term referred to three different pathologies or pain of the tendon.

  1. Achilles Tendonitis:
    True achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the structures around the achilles tendon with pain usually to the midsection of the tendon. A patient my noticed mild soft tissue swelling, increased warmth, a crunchy sensation when feeling along the tendon, and pain during activities.
  2. Achilles Insertional Tendonitis:
    Insertional achilles pain is located where the achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone.  The pain can be directly behind the bone and sometimes on both side of the back of the heel bone. Similar symptoms as noted in Achilles tendonitis is present to insertional achilles tendonitis. Sometimes a heel spur at this level may cause pain due to rubbing on shoes.
  3. Achilles Tendinopathy:
    Achilles tendinopathy is a chronic state of achilles tendonitis. After time inflammation to the achilles tendon causes building up of scar tissue which thickens and weakens the tendon. An acute inflammation with swelling and warmth are not usually associated.

Causes:
A tight calf muscle is often the main reason for achilles injury and pain along high arch feet, low arch feet, poor shoe gear, and overuse. Activities that can increase pain are often those that require a lot of time spent on toes such as hiking, sprinting, basketball, and jumping.

Treatments:
There are many levels of treatments for a painful achilles tendon. Most people do well with very basic calf stretching, proper shoe gear, NSAIDs, heel lifts, and reasonable activity modification until improved. However some people with may also consider orthotics, physical therapy, and immobilization. Others may require surgery.

Advanced Therapy
To promote healing in those patients at PACI who have tried conventional conservative therapy and are seeking further treatment prior to surgery, we have injectable amniotic tissue. This injectable treatment is performed in the office under local anesthesia. The injection recruits your own bodies stem cells and growth factors to help repaired scarred and painful tissue to a healthy collagen.

Conclusion:
It is important to address Achilles pain early to be able to return to life activities and prevent further complications such as scarring and rupture. Here at PACI we are dedicated to providing advanced and excellent care to return you to your normal activities.

Author: Laura Bohman

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