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Achilles Tendonitis

Updated: Jan 10

In this blog post Cypress Foot and Ankle specialist Dr. Christopher Correa discusses Achilles Tendonitis as a source of Posterior Heel Pain and possible warning signs of incipient Achilles tendon rupture. The Achilles Tendon is the largest tendon in the human body and runs from your calf muscle to the back if your heel. Due to the tremendous strain this tendon must endure during daily and athletic activities it can often become strained and inflamed causing a condition called Achilles Tendonitis.

Signs of Achilles problems include

  • Pain at the posterior heel that is aggravated with activity and relieved by rest.

  • Pain that appears to be worse after periods of rest especially with the first step out of bed in the morning.

  • Pain when pressure is applied directly to the posterior heel or calf.

  • Tearing or popping sensation.

  • A sensation of weakness of the calf.

  • Long standing swelling or a palpable lump within the tendon that may or may not be tender to touch.

Long standing and untreated Achilles tendonitis is often associated with a large posterior heel spur and a tight calf muscle (equinus). As this spurs grows it can fracture over time and leads to persistent pain. For more complete discussion on posterior heel spurs click here. Untreated prolonged Achilles tendonitis can precede an Achilles Tendon rupture, but pain is not always present. Rupture of the Achilles often times is accompanied by a large popping sensation, causing some people to believe they have been kicked or struck in the back of the leg. These are usually noncontact injury and occur when a sudden forceful contraction of the calf muscle occurs such as when stepping in a hole, jump shot, or a quick change in direction (cutting). In spite of the rupture, patient can sometimes walk immediately after this injury and, due to compensatory actions of neighboring tendons, may still have some motion at the ankle but it will be markedly weaker. This will almost universally be accompanied with bruise and a great deal of swelling. If you believe you have suffered an Achilles Tendon rupture it is important that you follow up with you podiatrist without delay.

Achilles tendonitis, cross section of foot.

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