The Achilles tendon camera.gif connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. It lets you rise up on your toes and push off when you walk or run. The two main problems are,
Achilles tendinopathy. This includes one of two conditions, Tendinitis. This actually means "inflammation of the tendon." But inflammation is rarely the cause of tendon pain. Tendinosis. This refers
to tiny tears (microtears) in the tissue in and around the tendon. These tears are caused by overuse. In most cases, Achilles tendon pain is the result of tendinosis, not tendinitis. Some experts now
use the term tendinopathy to include both inflammation and microtears. But many doctors may still use the term tendinitis to describe a tendon injury. Problems with the Achilles tendon may seem to
happen suddenly. But usually they are the result of many tiny tears in the tendon that have happened over time. Achilles tendinopathy is likely to occur in men older than 30. Most Achilles tendon
ruptures occur in people 30 to 50 years old who are recreational athletes ("weekend warriors"). Ruptures can also happen in older adults.
Achilles tendinitis is usually caused by straining the Achilles tendon through intense activity or a sudden increase in exercise. Individuals who play basketball often develop Achilles tendinitis as
a result of pivoting, jumping, and running. These repetitive movements put pressure on the tendon and can gradually wear it down over time. Increasing the intensity of your workouts may also lead to
the development of Achilles tendinitis. This is commonly seen in long distance runners who do quite a bit of uphill running. Similarly, if you start exercising more frequently you may also develop
the condition due to overuse of the tendon. Not stretching properly before exercise can also make the tendon more prone to injury. Achilles tendinitis is also common in individuals whose feet have a
flattened arch, as this places more stress on the tendon. The condition can also be triggered by arthritis, as joint pain can cause one to compensate by putting more pressure on the Achilles
Gradual onset of pain and stiffness over the tendon, which may improve with heat or walking and worsen with strenuous activity. Tenderness of the tendon on palpation. There may also be crepitus and
swelling. Pain on active movement of the ankle joint. Ultrasound or MRI may be necessary to differentiate tendonitis from a partial tendon rupture.
To diagnose the condition correctly, your doctor will ask you a few questions about the pain and swelling in your heel. You may be asked to stand on the balls of your feet while your doctor observes
your range of motion and flexibility. The doctor may also touch the area directly. This allows him to pinpoint where the pain and swelling is most severe.
Treatment can range from cold compress and heel pads for minor cases, to physical rehabilitation, anti-inflammatory medicine, ultrasound therapy, and manual therapy. If you are a Michigan resident
that suspects they have Achilles Tendinitis, please contact Dr. Young immediately; Achilles Tendinitis, if left untreated, can eventually result in an Achilles Tendon Rupture, which is a serious
condition that is a partial or complete tear in the tendon. It can severely hinder walking and can be extremely painful and slow to recover.
Not every Achilles tendon injury or condition requires surgery. It is generally understood by doctors and surgeons, that surgery will introduce more scar tissue into the Achilles tendon. This added
scar tissue will be problematic, requiring physical therapy and conservative treatment options post-surgery. If not dealt with properly, your ankle and Achilles tendon could end up in worse condition
than before the surgery! This is why surgery is only performed as a last resort.
Appropriately warm up and stretch before practice or competition. Allow time for adequate rest and recovery between practices and competition. Maintain appropriate conditioning, Ankle and leg
flexibility, Muscle strength and endurance, Cardiovascular fitness. Use proper technique. To help prevent recurrence, taping, protective strapping, or an adhesive bandage may be recommended for
several weeks after healing is complete.