The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, connecting your heel bone to large muscles in your calf. The Achilles tendon is responsible for extending your foot. This tendon is very important for pushing off the ground when walking, running, and playing sports. Because it is such an important tendon, it can easily be damaged or injured.
Achilles pain can be caused by
Pain is the most prominent symptom of an Achilles injury. The pain will be most noticeable when you try to move the foot down against resistance. The involved tendon may also swell. The pain may come and go or gradually get worse over time.
More severe injuries can occur to this tendon. Often people might hear a pop or a snap while playing sports in their Achilles tendon. This could indicate a possible rupture of the tendon and needs immediate attention.
Literally meaning “inflammation of the Achilles tendon,” Achilles tendonitis is a type of injury that often causes soreness or stiffness in the Achilles tendon, located about 1-2cm above your heel bone. Sometimes the pain can radiate or originate right behind the heel bone. Icing and resting the area can often help treat this area; however, if you notice the pain getting worse, it is best to seek treatment with us as soon as possible.
Bone spurs are the result of excess bone formation. Often these spurs, when formed on the back of the heel bone, can cause significant pain to the Achilles tendon. Bone spurs can cause worsening pain and are often a progressive problem. Left untreated, these bone spurs can cause tears or ruptures to the Achilles tendon.
A common injury amongst “weekend warriors,” a partial or complete tear or rupture of the Achilles tendon is the result of the sudden stretching of it. People who experience Achilles tendon ruptures often say they heard a large pop and thought someone had stepped on the back of their shoe. These types of injuries can cause long-term pain and deformity, and immediate care is often required.
If the pain doesn’t go away with ice and rest, or if the pain persists beyond a week, you must schedule an appointment with our physician immediately. Remember that time is of the essence; effectively treating these injuries is imperative to preventing long-term sequelae.
Rest—Rest the affected area. Stay off the injured foot or ankle to prevent further injury. Walking, running, or playing sports on an injured foot or ankle may make the injury worse.
Ice—Apply ice to the affected area and reapply it for 15–20 minutes every three or four hours for the first 48 hours after injury. Ice can decrease inflammation.
Compression—Wrap an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap) around the affected foot or ankle.
Elevation—Elevate the affected extremity on a stack of pillows; ideally, your foot or ankle should be higher than your heart. Keeping your foot or ankle elevated also decreases swelling.
Immobilization—A CAM immobilization boot may be dispensed to prevent movement of the ankle joint, which aids in healing.
Bracing—Sometimes wearing an ankle brace for weeks to months after the injury can help long-term healing and prevent re-injury
Physical Therapy—Physical therapy can assist in healing the ankle joint and prevent re-injury.
Custom-Molded Orthotics—The control of foot functions with shoe inserts (i.e., orthotics) may be recommended to restrict motion and reduce pain.
Amniotic Membrane Injection Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma injections
Typically, Achilles tendon pathologies (with the exception of ruptures) do not require surgical intervention; however, scar tissue, as a result of chronic inflammation, may be the cause of your pain. Removing (debriding) the scar tissue may be recommended.
Complete ruptures of the Achilles tendon often require surgical intervention to reattach the tendon. Patients are often required to stay off their surgically-repaired foot for several weeks to allow the tissue to heal.