Achilles Tendinopathy is a condition that is generally caused through a series of tiny injuries to the Achilles tendon which usually occurs for a wide range of factors, such as overuse of the tendon in the case of runners. Achilles Tendinopathy is linked to pain, swelling, and stiffness of the Achilles tendon joining one’s heel bone to one’s calf muscles.
What is Achilles Tendinopathy?
Achilles Tendinopathy is a condition that causes inflammation of the Achilles tendon due to degeneration of the tendon. This may lead to swelling and hence causing pain. The condition mostly occurs among athletes, and patients who may be subject to calf tightness. Achilles tendinosis may occur at two points; first in the middle of the tendon, a condition called mid-substance Achilles tendinosis. The second point is the connection point between the heel bone and the tendon, a condition referred to as insertional Achilles tendinosis.
What are the symptoms of Achilles Tendinosis?
One of the changes that are felt when the tendon gets inflames is pain and tightness on the tendon behind the ankle. In most cases, no injury or trauma experiences. Rather, a slow progression of pain is experienced. Patients also experience difficulties in performing some activities like climbing stairs and running. They may also experience pain after long hours of sleeping or sitting. Most patients may also notice a bump behind the heel bone or on the tendon, depending on whether they have insertional or mid-substance Achilles tendinosis respectively. Besides, most patients wear backless shoes to avoid the irritation caused when the shoe rubs against the bump. In comparison to wearing flat shoes, patients experience less pain when they wear shoes with slight heels.
What causes Achilles Tendinosis?
One of the causes of Achilles tendinosis is calf tightness. Also, a heel bone spur may lead to insertional Achilles tendinosis. As in the case of a rope rubbing against a sharp rock, this spur rubs against the tendon and causes progressive wear and tear. This condition is also called “Haglund’s syndrome.” As the effects of chronic wear and tear increase, pain also increases.
How is Achilles Tendinopathy diagnosed?
After a thorough examination and evaluation of the patient’s history, physicians often realise that most patients usually feel pain at the back of the heel or on the tendon. Some may also have thickening and swelling of the Achilles tendon. Podiatrists rely on X-rays to see whether there are any bone spurs. They further perform an ultrasound or MRI to find the extent of the effects on the tendon and whether there are any tears.
There are different treatment options from ranging from physical therapy, orthotics to injection therapy. At Optimum Care Foot and Ankle Clinic we are experienced in assessment, management and treatment of all lower limb sports, bone and soft tissue injuries. Contact us on 03 9077 5915 for further assessment and treatment.