Achilles Tendonitis

What is Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles Tendonitis is a condition affecting the Achilles tendon which is the large tendon that joins your calf muscles to the back of the heel. (It is the one that women like to make tight to look good in high heels!) Tendonitis is a condition where the tendon is inflamed. The ‘itis’ means inflamed. When the tendon is inflamed it can be very painful, particularly after you have been resting for a while, as in sleeping. There are many different causes of Achilles tendonitis.

The most common cause is strain and overuse. It can also be inflamed as part of systemic disorders affecting tendons and or joints.
How do we diagnose Achilles Tendonitis?

The pattern of symptoms is most important and the tendon will usually be swollen and very tender to touch. It will be painful to bend the foot back too much as this puts a stretch on the tendon.

Ultrasound of the tendon can be done to confirm the diagnosis.

If there is suspicion that it is part of a systemic condition, then blood testings will be done looking for inflammation, measuring things like the ESR and the CRP.

How is Achilles Tendonitis treated?

Usually simple measures are tried first.

Anti inflammatories, adjusting foot wear and stretching exercises.

If none of these are working then cortisone injections into the affected area may be tried.

If it is thought to be part of a systemic arthritis then your rheumatologist will talk to you about taking specific medications for this.