Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles tendonopathy

Summary

  • Achilles Tendinopathy is a condition where there is pain, swelling, stiffness, and weakness in your Achilles tendon.
  • It is caused by repeated tiny injuries in this area.
  • Pain develops gradually especially in the morning upon waking up but is worse during rest after exercise.

How did I get this?

  • Achilles tendon is important part of your leg which is found behind and above your heel. It joins the heel bone to your calf muscles. This helps to bend your foot downwards at the ankle. Overuse of tendons, wearing inappropriate footwear during exercise, poor flexibility, and increased intensity of exercise can result to injury in your Achilles tendon. Other causes include arthritis and long-term use of some antibiotics (e.g. Ciprofloxacin).

What can I do about it?

  • Rest and avoid strenuous exercise (such as running). As you improve, you can restart exercise gradually.
  • Cold compress (ice pack) will help to decrease swelling and control the pain.
  • Compression using bandage can also minimize pain and aid in reducing the inflammation.
  • Elevate the injured area above the heart while sitting.
  • For prevention, make sure you stretch before and after exercise.
  • Short term use of anti-inflammatory drugs can be helpful to decrease the pain.

What help can I get for this?

  • A podiatrist for special heel pads to wear in the shoes for cushion and support, and a program of special exercises for the strengthening of the injured tendons.
  • Footwear advice or modification and possible orthoses to relieve strain on the Achilles tendon.
  • A surgeon, if symptoms do not improve after 3 to 6 months, might proceed with surgical repair of the tendons.

When will it get better?

  • Symptoms usually clear within 3 to 6 months of starting nonsurgical treatment (as described above). The earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome.

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