Achilles Tendon Pain 

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone and although it is a strong tendon, it is very easily injured with overuse and degeneration. This may be a result of Achilles tendonitis (inflammation), Achilles tendinosis (micro-tears), Achilles tendinopathy (inflammation and micro-tears), or a partial or complete tear (rupture) of the Achilles tendon. 

This injury occurs more commonly in athletes, especially runners who suddenly increase the distance or intensity of their run, or run on a different surface e.g. tar road vs. grass. Biomechanical anomalies such as flat feet, excessive pronation, walking on tiptoes or prolonged use of high heels, tight calf muscles and high arches may also lead to Achilles tendon pain.

Achilles Tendonitis pain

Signs and Symptoms 

  • Pain at the back of the heel or further up the tendon that worsens with activity 
  • Pain and stiffness in the morning at the back of the heel or further up the tendon
  • Warmth and swelling at the back of the heel or further up the tendon
  • Limited motion of the ankle joint, especially when flexing the foot
  • Tight calf muscles
  • A popping sound may be heard at the time of injury if the tendon is torn (ruptured) 

 

Latest Research Links: 

Achilles Tendon Structure Differs Between Runners And Non-Runners Despite No Clinical Signs Or Symptoms Of Mid-Substance Tendinopathy 

The Role of the Vascular and Structural Response to Activity in the Development of Achilles Tendinopathy: A Prospective Study 

Kardem Kiter

Article by Kardem Kiter, specialist podiatrist at Family Podiatry Centre

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