Achilles tendinitis involves sharp or dull pain throughout the back of the tendon, usually close to the heel. The Achilles tendon is the biggest tendon that connects 2 major calf muscles – gastrocnemius and soleus.
If there is excess stress, the tendon becomes tight and required to strain. This results to inflammation and can lead to the formation of scar tissue which is less flexible. If the inflamed tendon is under continuous stress, it might even rupture.
What are the indications?
- Dull or sharp pain throughout the rear part of the tendon, but usually near the heel.
- Diminished flexibility of the ankle
- Warmth or redness over the sore area
- A nodule can be felt on the tendon
- Cracking sound if the ankle is moved
Causes of Achilles tendinitis
- Tired or tight calf muscles that transfer the excess burden from running to the Achilles tendon might be due to inadequate stretching of the calves or overtraining.
- Strenuous running on hills
- Wearing running shoes that are less flexible that forces the tendon to twist
- Individuals who overpronate
If an individual starts to experience pain, he/she must stop running. You can provide him/her with a pain medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin as well as apply an ice pack for 15-20 minutes several times throughout the day until the inflammation settles.
Once the swelling has settled, the calf muscles should be stretched. The individual should avoid running until he/she can perform toe raises without any pain.
In case the injury does not respond to self-care measures in 2 weeks, a physical therapist or orthopedic surgeon must be seen. It is important to note that surgery involving scraping of the scar tissue from the tendon is usually the last resort, but not effective and often stimulates more scar tissue.