What Are Achilles Tendon Disorders?


The Achilles tendon is a band of tissue that runs down the lower leg and connects your calf muscle to the heel bone. The Achilles tendon helps raise your heel up and off the ground when you walk. Achilles tendonitis is a condition when the Achilles tendon gets inflamed. This is usually doesn't happen for very long, but if it’s not treated, Achilles tendonitis can turn into a degeneration of the tendon, which is called Achilles tendonosis.

If Achilles tendonosis happens, the tendon loses its structure and will probably develop small tears. Usually this happens where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone. In some cases, Achilles tendonosis could turn into a rupture of the tendon. Doing sudden activity involving the Achilles tendon may cause Achilles tendonitis and tendonosis. This sudden activity works the tendon too quickly, leading to micro-injury of the tendon fibers.

Achilles tendonitis and tendonosis happen to athletes and people whose jobs put stress on their ankles and feet, such as laborers. “Weekend warriors” who participate in athletics only on weekends, or infrequently, can also suffer this injury. People with a flattening of the arch have a tendency to get this condition as well.

Symptoms of Achilles Tendon Disorders
The symptoms of Achilles tendonitis and tendonosis include pain anywhere along the tendon’s path (upon arising in the morning or after periods of rest) and when the sides of the tendon are squeezed.

Diagnosis of Achilles Tendon Disorders
A foot and ankle surgeon may examine your foot and ankle and check your range of motion. A foot and ankle doctor may also use x-rays or MRIs. Treatment for Achilles Tendon Disorders

Diagnosis of adult acquired flatfoot is usually done by a foot and ankle doctor, who examines the foot, the way you walk, and any x-rays or MRIs that are taken.

Treatment for Adult Acquired Flatfoot

Treatment for Achilles tendonitis and/or tendonosis depends how long the injury has been there and how bad it is. Early treatment may include:

  • A cast or removable walking boot to keep your foot still and promote healing in the Achilles tendon.
  • A bag of ice over a thin towel on the injured area for 20 minutes of each hour. Do not put ice directly against the skin.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce the pain and inflammation
  • For those with flat feet or walking problems, custom orthotic devices may help.
  • Night splints help to maintain a stretch in the Achilles tendon during sleep.
  • Physical therapy may include exercises, soft-tissue massage/mobilization, walk and running re-education, stretching, and ultrasound therapy.

Surgical Treatment for Achilles Tendon Disorders

If these non-surgical treatments don’t return the tendon to its normal condition, then surgery may be necessary. Your foot and ankle surgeon will help you select the best procedure to fix the tendon. Remember, any type of foot or ankle pain is never normal. A foot and ankle doctor can examine your feet and give you the best course of action.

Please call (626) 447-2184 (Arcadia) or (818) 408-2800 (San Fernando) to speak to a foot and ankle specialist about your foot and/or ankle needs.

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