Achilles Tendinitis and Repair

The Achilles tendon is the longest tendon in the body, joining the calf muscles with the heel bone. It appears as a band of tissue at the back of your ankle and above your heel. Achilles tendinitis refers to inflammation of this tendon.

Causes

Constant overuse or repetitive activities can cause Achilles tendonitis. These activities exert excessive stress on the tendon and damage or injure the tendon, resulting in pain.

People involved in activities like sports and exercises are more prone to develop Achilles tendonitis. It is also commonly seen in people whose occupation requires long periods of standing.

Symptoms

Symptoms related to Achilles tendonitis include:

  • Swelling
  • Mild or severe pain that worsens with activity
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased movements of the ankle
  • Difficulty in walking or standing

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is based on the following:

  • Medical history
  • Physical examination of the foot and ankle to assess the movements and condition of the tendon
  • Perhaps radiological investigations like foot or ankle X-rays or MRI

Treatment

Treatment options depend on the duration and extent of injury to the tendon:

  • Adequate rest and restricting activities that cause pain and stress
  • Medications to relieve pain and inflammation
  • Applying ice bags over a towel on the affected area for about 15-20 minutes to reduce swelling and inflammation
  • Physical therapy
  • Occasionally immobilization with a cast, splint, brace, walking boot or other device to prevent movements of the leg and assist in faster healing of the tendon
  • Surgery is indicated only in severe cases and depends on the age and level of activity of the individual, extent of damage to the tendon, and other factors.

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