Achilles Tendon Injuries

achilles tendon

The Achilles tendon is located in the back of your leg. It begins at the back of your calf and extends down your leg and ends at your heel. You can follow it using two of your fingers on either side of the tendon from the middle of your leg straight down to the top of your heel bone at the back of your foot. This extraordinarily strong structure is what allows you to get on your “tippy toes” by lifting your heels off of the floor.

However, its strength contradicts the injuries that frequently occur. From sub-acute tendonitis to a partial tear and to even a complete rupture, these injuries result in painful and debilitating symptoms that affect your ability to move and daily activities.

The entire tendon is made up of many connected longitudinal tendrils that are, in fact, elastic. This gives the entire structure the ability to stretch and contract. When these so-called tendrils become inflamed due to overuse or injury, pain and swelling occur. These structures may become so over stretched that they separate from their corresponding tendrils. Thus, a partial rupture of the tendon occurs. If the injury is more severe, a complete rupture of the tendon is a possibility.

 

An Achilles tendon injury can be caused by:

  • A foot-type such as flat foot, causing a collapse of the longitudinal arch of the inside of the foot. As a result, an “over-stretching” of the muscles and tendons of both the foot and the lower leg occur
  • Increasing your level of physical activity too quickly, causing the Achilles tendon and its neighboring structures to perform at levels that it might not be able to handle the stress that is required
  • Repeatedly performing your daily activities at your job or at home over an extended period of time
  • Wearing high-heeled shoes that place undue stress on the Achilles tendon by continuous contracture

A symptom of an Achilles tendon injury is pain in the back of your leg above your heel either to touch or when you extend your toes to the floor. There may also be swelling or a lump present as well. Symptoms may have started after either an abrupt and sudden change in your activity or a long-standing inflammation that suddenly exacerbated into an acute injury. In either case, you should seek care from one of our practice’s professional medical physicians without delay.

 

Treatment for a mild Achilles tendon injury really depends on the extent and seriousness of the symptoms. Treatments include:

  • Anti-inflammation medications such as aspirin or Tylenol