Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis

Tendonitis refers to inflammation of a tendon in response to injury or disease of that tissue. Thus, tendonitis of the Achilles tendon refers to inflammation of this tendon, which lies at the back of the ankle and connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. This inflammation causes pain, irritation, and swelling in the area of the Achilles tendon, especially following periods of activity. This can range from mild to severe Achilles tendonitis pain. Other symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:
  • Thickening of the tendon
  • Formation of a bone spur
  • Stiffness of the tendon in the morning
  • Limited strength and range of motion for the ankle 

What Causes Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis pain typically comes on gradually as a result of overuse of the Achilles tendon, which results in tiny tears. These tiny tears often stem from a sudden increase in physical activity—in duration or intensity—or from a sport that involves a lot of pushing off and stop-and-go motions (think basketball). If the damaging activity involves both legs (e.g., jumping or squatting exercises) bilateral Achilles tendonitis can form. Achilles tendonitis heel pain is most common middle-aged men; the tendon weakens with age. But Achilles tendonitis in children can also occur as their involvement in activities such as dance, gymnastics, track, and field, etc. can lead to injury of the tendon. Some other causes of Achilles tendonitis include:
  • nonsupportive shoes
  • training on hard surfaces
  • foot shape or alignment abnormalities
  • obesity
  • medical conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure)
  • some medicines

Treatment and Cures for Achilles Tendonitis

Home remedies for Achilles tendonitis go by an easy-to-remember acronym: RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). It is important to take time off from exercise or at the very least, switch to one that puts less strain on the Achilles tendon. After an activity or whenever pain flares up, you should ice the ankle/heel region for about 15 minutes. Compression wraps and bandages reduce swelling and restrain movement. Elevating the foot, especially while sleeping, can also help reduce swelling. There are also a number of stretches and exercises that can yield Achilles tendonitis relief. YouTube offers a number of videos for easing pain associated with Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and other causes of foot pain. Achilles tendonitis braces and splints can also help ease pain and speed healing. Visit our orthopedic information library for more information on Achilles Tendonitis.

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