Achilles tendinitis, also
known as Achilles tendonitis, is inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to the back of your heel bone. It allows extension of your foot downward, away
from your body, which lets your heel lift off the ground as you move forward when walking. Every time you take a step you rely on your Achilles tendon.
The Achilles tendon is a strong band of connective tissue that attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone. When the muscle contracts, the tendon transmits the power of this contraction to the heel,
producing movement. The Achilles tendon moves through a protective sheath and is made up of thousands of tiny fibres. It is thought that Achilles tendonitis develops when overuse of the tendon causes
the tiny fibres that make up the tendon to tear. This causes inflammation, pain and swelling. As the tendon swells it can begin to rub against the sheath surrounding it, irritating the sheath and
causing it too to become inflamed and swollen. It has a poor blood supply, which can make it susceptible to injury and can make recovery from injury slow. Factors that can lead to the development of
Achilles tendonitis include, tight or weak calf muscles, rapidly increasing the amount or intensity of exercise. Hill climbing or stair climbing exercises. Changes in footwear, particularly changing
from wearing high-heeled shoes to wearing flat shoes. Wearing inadequate or inappropriate shoes for the sporting activity being undertaken. Not adequately warming up and stretching prior to exercise.
A sudden sharp movement that causes the calf muscles to contract and the stress on the Achilles tendon to be increased. This can cause the tendon fibres to tear.
There are several types of Achilles tendinitis symptoms, but all of them are closely related. People who suffer from Achilles tendon pain typically have swelling in the Achilles tendon, and that pain
can be chronic as the microscopic tears in the area become more prevalent over time. The most intense pain is typically located just a few centimeters above the area where the tendon meets the heel.
This area is called the watershed zone, and the amount of blood moving through it is what gives it the highest potential for injury, especially for athletes. Most of the Achilles tendinitis symptoms
in people with the condition will happen immediately after they have been inactive for a fairly significant amount of time. That means that the most pain will generally be felt after sitting or lying
down for an extended period, or right after waking up in the morning and getting moving. If you aren?t positive that you are suffering specifically from Achilles tendinitis symptoms, consult a doctor
to make sure.
To diagnose the condition correctly, your doctor will ask you a few questions about the pain and swelling in your heel. You may be asked to stand on the balls of your feet while your doctor observes
your range of motion and flexibility. The doctor may also touch the area directly. This allows him to pinpoint where the pain and swelling is most severe.
The latest studies on Achilles tendonitis recommend a treatment plan that incorporates the following three components. Treatment of the inflammation. Strengthening of the muscles that make up the
Achilles tendon using eccentric exercise. These are a very specific type of exercise that has been shown in multiple studies to be a critical component of recovering from Achilles tendonitis.
Biomechanical control (the use of orthotics and proper shoes). Shockwave therapy.
In most surgeries, damaged tissue is cleaned out before surgeons make the necessary repairs. However, a new minimally-invasive surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon actually uses the damaged
tissue to help repair the tear. The percutaneous Achilles repair system, or PARS technique, enables surgeons to better repair a torn Achilles tendon through a smaller incision. This procedure was
recently performed at Houston Methodist Hospital to treat an NFL cornerback, getting him back on field for this season.
Suggestions to reduce your risk of Achilles tendonitis include, icorporate stretching into your warm-up and cool-down routines. Maintaining an adequate level of fitness for your sport. Avoid dramatic
increases in sports training. If you experience pain in your Achilles tendon, rest the area. Trying to ?work through? the pain will only make your injury worse. Wear good quality supportive shoes
appropriate to your sport. If there is foot deformity or flattening, obtain orthoses. Avoid wearing high heels on a regular basis. Maintaining your foot in a ?tiptoe? position shortens your calf
muscles and reduces the flexibility of your Achilles tendon. An inflexible Achilles tendon is more susceptible to injury. Maintain a normal healthy weight.