Achilles Tendonitis

Categorized as an overuse injury, Achilles tendonitis is commonly found in runners who have increased their running duration or intensity.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is damage to the band of tissue that connects the heel bone to calf muscles in the lower leg. Categorized as an overuse injury, Achilles tendonitis is commonly found in runners who have increased their running duration or intensity. It is also seen in middle-aged patients who participate in recreational sports, such as basketball or tennis.

What Are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis can include mild to severe pain in the back of the leg or above the heal after strenuous activity, such as prolonged running or playing a sport. Patients may also experience stiffness or tenderness in the morning that resolves after mild activity.

What Are the Causes of Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis is the result of repetitive strain on the tendon when patients walk, run, jump and stand on their tip-toes. This holds especially true for patients who abruptly increase their exercise activity.

In addition, the Achilles tendon tends to weaken with age, making it more vulnerable to injury. It may even be injured by a bone spur that develops and rubs against the tendon.

What Are the Treatment Options for Achilles Tendonitis?

Non-Surgical Treatments

In the majority of cases, Achilles tendonitis can be effectively treated using a variety of nonsurgical methods. These include:

  • Certain exercises, such as calf stretching
  • Discontinuing and avoiding use of floroquinolones
  • Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) to stimulate healing in the tendon
  • Physical therapy
  • Prolotherapy injections
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil