Achilles tendinitis is a common condition that can cause pain that makes it difficult to walk or exercise comfortably. At Beacon Orthopaedics, our foot and ankle specialists offer treatment for Achilles tendinitis to help our patients get back on their feet. We proudly serve patients in Cincinnati, Dayton, and surrounding communities.
What is Achilles Tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis is the leading cause of Achilles tendon pain. The Achilles tendon sits at the back of the heel and connects the heel bone to the calf muscle. It is the largest tendon in the human body. In patients with Achilles tendinitis, the Achilles tendon is inflamed and/or irritated.1
What Causes Achilles Tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis is not caused by an injury or trauma, but rather is the result of repetitive stress to the Achilles tendon. Achilles tendinitis often results from a sudden increase in the intensity of activity, such as with runners who suddenly run for longer or at a greater intensity.3
Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis
The main symptom of Achilles tendinitis is pain. This often begins as a minor ache in the heel or at the back of the leg after an activity like running, and may become more severe after prolonged activity. Other symptoms of Achilles tendinitis may include:
- Bone spurs
- Difficulty flexing the foot
- Thickening of the Achilles tendon2
Treatment for Achilles Tendinitis
Non-Surgical Treatment for Achilles Tendinitis
At Beacon Orthopaedics, we always recommend the least invasive treatment necessary to alleviate our patients symptoms and get them back to the activities they love. In the case of Achilles tendinitis, non-surgical treatment involves:
- Physical therapy
- Non-steroid based injections
- Splinting/Walking Boot
- Orthotics and supportive shoes
- Tenex Therapy
- Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy
Surgery for Achilles Tendinitis
When the pain of Achilles tendinitis does not improve, it may be time to consider surgery. During surgery for Achilles tendinitis, damaged tissue is removed, or debrided and bone spurs are removed. In some cases, Achilles tendinitis has led to a tendon rupture. If this happens, the Achilles tendon is reattached to the heel bone.
It is also possible that gastrocnemius recession will be performed as treatment for Achilles tendinitis. During this procedure, tight calf muscles (gastrocnemius) are lengthened to increase the range of motion for the ankle.4
Frequently Asked Questions About Achilles Tendinitis
What are the different types of Achilles tendinitis?
There are two types of Achilles tendinitis:
- Noninsertional Achilles tendinitis: This form of Achilles tendinitis is more common in younger, active patients. Here, the middle of the Achilles tendon swells, thickens, and begins to break down.
- Insertional Achilles tendinitis: This type of Achilles tendonitis can affect anyone, regardless of their level of activity. With insertional Achilles tendinitis, the part of the tendon that connects to the heel bone is affected.
Who is most at risk for Achilles tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis is a common injury in runners and athletes. People most at risk for Achilles tendinitis:
- Are runners, dancers, or athletes who frequently make quick starts and stops
- Work in jobs that put stress on their ankles and feet
- Don’t participate in sports frequently
- Have weak or tight calf muscles
- Have bone spurs against the Achilles tendon
Contact Beacon Orthopaedics
If you suffer from the discomfort of Achilles tendinitis, it is important to seek treatment. Not only can the doctors at Beacon Orthopaedics help alleviate your symptoms, but we can also help to prevent an Achilles tendon rupture. To schedule a consultation with a foot and ankle specialist in the Cincinnati area, please contact us.
1 Cleveland Clinic. Achilles Tendinitis. Available: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21553-achilles-tendinitis. Accessed June 6, 2022.
2 Hopkins Medicine. Achilles Tendon Injuries. Available: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/achilles-tendon-injuries. Accessed June 6, 2022.
3 Mayo Clinic. Achilles Tendinitis. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/achilles-tendinitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20369020#:~:text=Achilles%20tendinitis%20is%20an%20overuse,or%20duration%20of%20their%20runs. Accessed June 6, 2022.
4 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Achilles Tendinitis. Available: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/achilles-tendinitis/. Accessed June 6, 2022.