Tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon. It can cause pain, swelling, and limit movement. The injuries can include:
The achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Tendinopathy and the associated pain may take months to resolve.
Tendinopathy is generally caused by overuse of a muscle-tendon unit. Over time, the strain on the tendon causes structural changes within the tendon itself.
Overuse of the achilles tendon is common when:
Factors that increase your chance of achilles tendinopathy include:
Symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and exercise habits. A physical exam will be done.
Your doctor will likely make a diagnosis based on the exam and history. If the symptoms and signs are unclear your doctor may order:
Take a break from the activity that caused the tendinopathy. Switch to an activity that doesn't put stress on the tendon. Avoid uphill and irregular surfaces. Swimming is a good option.
Gradually increase your activity levels. Ice the area for 20 minutes if you have activity related pain.
You may be advised to wear a shoe insert. It will place your foot in the correct position for walking and running.
Some people may benefit from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs). They may be helpful in relieving the pain and decreasing inflammation. This is not curative. It must be combined with other treatment.
To decrease your chances of getting achilles tendonitis:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aaos.org/.
Achilles tendinopathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated June 2008. Accessed May 11, 2009.
Mayo Clinic Health Letter website. Available at: http://healthletter.mayoclinic.com/.
Last reviewed January 2009 by Robert E. Leach, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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