Understanding Achilles Tendon Pain | Achilles Tendonitis

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 causes Achilles tendon pain. 

Achilles tendonitis can be debilitating | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

Pain in the Achilles tendon is usually a precursor to more serious injuries or conditions, and 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. 

When Achilles tendonitis happens, the tendon becomes inflamed and painful. An injury may occur where the Achilles tendon connects to the heel bone, known as insertional Achilles tendonitis, or it may be further up the tendon (non-insertional Achilles tendonitis).

If the condition is not treated, the tendon may break down over time and can lead to a complete rupture of the tendon, which will definitely bring you to your knees (and to the hospital). 

Achilles tendon pain is a sign of Achilles tendonitis | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

Symptoms of Achilles tendon pain and Achilles tendonitis include:

  • Pain at the back of the heel or further up the tendon that worsens with activity, warmth and swelling at the back of the heel or further up the tendon
  • Stiffness and limited motion of the ankle joint especially when flexing the foot
  • Tight calf muscles
  • A popping sound if the tendon ends up getting ruptured
    • This is a bad sign, and the pain should be enough to floor you, but this requires immediate medical attention.

What causes Achilles Tendon Pain | Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendon pain occurs more commonly in athletes, and is often caused as an overuse injury. Vulnerable groups and causes of Achilles tendon pain and Achilles tendonitis include:

  • Runners who suddenly increase the distance or intensity of their run, or run on a different surface e.g tar road vs grass
  • Females may be more susceptible to Achilles tendinopathy, according to some studies
  • Individuals with biomechanical anomalies e.g flat feet, excessive pronation, walking on tiptoes or high arches
  • Prolonged use of high heels

 

A podiatrist examining a patient's Achilles tendon | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

Best Achilles Tendon Pain | Achilles Tendonitis Treatment

Achilles tendon pain is often an indicator that your legs need to rest. Take their advice and take a break to prevent the problem from getting worse. If you suspect that you may be getting Achilles tendonitis, we highly recommend a along rest period, or to see a podiatrist as soon as possible and avoid strenuous physical activity for the moment, so as to avoid making the problem worse.

Written by Kardem Kiter
Written by Kardem Kiter

Based in Singapore, Degree in Podiatric Medicine from the University of Johannesburg. Published in The Foot and member of The Golden Key Honour Society.

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