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Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis accounts for around 11% of all running injuries. The Achilles tendon is the large tendon at the back of the ankle. It connects the large calf muscles to the heel bone and provides the power in the push off during both walking and running.Achilles tendonitis is often now being referred to as achilles tendinopathy. This is because it is no longer thought to be an inflammatory condition. On investigation, the main finding is usually degenerated tissue with a loss of normal fibre structure.Achilles tendonitis can be either chronicwhich occurs over a longer period of time. In addition to being either chronic or acute, the condition can also be either at the attachment point to the heel or in the mid-portion of the tendon (typically around 4cm above the heel). Healing of the achilles tendon is often slow, due to its poor blood supply.

 

 

Symptoms

Acute tendonitis:

  • Gradual onset of pain over a period of days
  • Pain at the onset of exercise which fades as the exercise progresses.
  • Pain eases with rest.
  • Tenderness on palpation.
  • Chronic achilles tendonitis may follow on from acute tendonitis if it goes untreated or is not allow sufficient rest.

Chronic tendonitis:

Chronic achilles tendonitis is a difficult condition to treat, particularly in older athletes who appear to suffer more often

  • Gradual onset of pain over a period of weeks, or even months.
  • Pain with all exercise, which is constant throughout.
  • Pain in the tendon when walking especially up hill or up stairs.
  • Pain and stiffness in the Achilles tendon especially in the morning or after rest.
  • There may be nodules or lumps in the achilles tendon, particularly 2-4cm above the heel.
  • Tenderness when examining by touch.
  • Swelling or thickening over the Achilles tendon.
  • There may be redness over the skin.
  • You can sometimes feel a creaking when you press your fingers into the tendon and move the ankle.