Achilles tendonitis occurs when the tendon is overused. It is most common in athletes, especially runners, who have increased the intensity of their workouts or training. It is also common in people who are only active a few days a week but may play high-intensity sports during those times. It can be treated and prevented. Severe tendonitis can lead to other complications.
Achilles tendonitis is caused by repetitive use and strains on the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is a band that connects the calf muscles to your heel bone. When you walk or run, it stretches. Overextending your foot, running too much or too fast, or general overuse can cause the tendon to become overextended and even weaken it over time. This makes it more susceptible to injuries.
The symptoms of Achilles tendonitis can vary by person and the severity of the injury. Some people ignore the early symptoms and just relate them to their workouts or training. The most common symptoms include:
Achilles tendonitis can be diagnosed by a doctor or physical therapist. The doctor may do a physical exam to look at the heel and touch it to determine if it is painful or tender. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may order some imaging tests. These tests may include:
Achilles tendonitis can be treated, and most treatments require self-care. The patient’s age and the severity of the tendonitis can determine which treatment is best for the patient. The most common treatments include:
Most people recover from Achilles tendonitis rather quickly and are able to return to their favorite sports and exercises. Those who have reoccurring Achilles tendonitis or who have had surgery on the tendon may need to try less strenuous activities or work consistently with a physical therapist to ensure that the tendon can handle these activities.