Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of the achilles tendon due to overuse or injury and is common in athletes especially runners or those who play sports during the weekends or infrequently. It normally develops after abrupt changes in training, training on uneven surfaces and using worn or poorly fitted shoes. If left untreated, this could lead to degeneration of the tendon.
The most common cause is overuse of the foot or excessive stress transmitted to the tendon. Too much stress will lead to micro-injury of the tendon fibers and, if not given proper time to heal, the body is not able to repair the tendon before it is injured again.
Managing Achilles Tendonitis with Conservative Managements
Mild cases of achilles tendonitis usually respond to over the counter pain medications and resting the tendon so that it may heal.
On the other hand, if the pain is chronic, Physical Therapy is often used. A Physical Therapist will teach patient how to stretch the calf muscle and Achilles tendon to avoid injury. Strengthening of the calf muscle as well as the ankle and foot is also necessary to stabilize the ankle. Additional strengthening exercise include heel lifts and eccentric strengthening.
Physical Therapy program can also be combined with different forms of ultrasound therapy or steroid injections by a physician.
In addition, correct footwear must be worn like shoes that are softer over and under the heel.
Surgery is a rare treatment for achilles tendinitis and is only performed when the tendon is already ruptured. Surgical options include gastrocnemius recession, debridement and repair and debridement with tendon transfer. The type of surgery to be performed depends on the location of injury and the amount of tendon damage.
The most important factor to expedite healing the tendon is to seek the advise of an orthopedic or foot specialist so that treatment can begin before the damage worsens.