Considering that your Achilles tendon lifts your ankle every time you walk, run, jump, or move, it’s easy to imagine the stress it endures and why it’s susceptible to injuries. Ian R. Hersh, DPM, FACFAS, at Ani Orthopaedics in Hazlet, Old Bridge, and Middletown, New Jersey, has years of experience treating Achilles tendon problems ranging from inflammation to complete ruptures. If have pain in the back of your heel or leg, call Ani Orthopaedics or schedule an appointment online today.
The Achilles tendon attaches the bottom of your calf muscle to your heel bone, where it endures extensive daily stress as it lifts your heel when you walk. The three most common conditions that occur in the Achilles tendon include:
This condition develops when the tendon is inflamed. Achilles tendinitis usually occurs due to repetitive stress or when you damage the tendon by suddenly increasing the duration or intensity of your activities.
If Achilles tendinitis goes untreated, the problem can worsen and cause tendinosis or tendon degeneration. Tendinosis occurs when small tears develop in the inflamed tendon.
A partial or complete rupture (tear) occurs when the Achilles tendon is overstretched. In many cases, overstretching is caused by jumping or due to sudden acceleration when you start running. Your tendon may also rupture if it’s weakened due to an injury, tendinosis, or steroids.
When a problem develops with your Achilles tendon such as Achilles tendinitis or tendinosis, you may experience symptoms such as:
If you have a ruptured Achilles tendon, you may experience one or more of the following:
One of the best ways to prevent Achilles tendon damage is to stretch your calf muscles and tendons prior to your activities.
Dr. Hersh may initially treat Achilles tendon problems with nonsurgical therapies. Your treatment may include rest, modifying your activities, or immobilization with a cast, splint, or walking boot while the tendon heals.
During your recovery, physical therapy is often recommended to strengthen the tendon. After the tendon heals, Dr. Hersh may evaluate whether orthotics can help correct structural problems or gait abnormalities that may put excessive stress on the tendon.
When a rupture is severe or your tendon doesn’t heal within six months, Dr. Hersh may recommend surgery. The type of surgery you’ll need depends on the location and severity of the tendon problem.
If you experience pain or swelling along your Achilles tendon, call Ani Orthopaedics or schedule an appointment online.