Achilles tendon injuries are one of the most common sports related injuries of the foot and ankle. This tendon connects the heel bone and calf muscle and it plays an important factor in walking jumping and running. However, the scope and complexity of the injuries related to the Achilles tendon vary widely and ability to distinguish among different pathologies is essential for an effective treatment plan.
Unfortunately, in a lot of cases every athlete’s pain in the back of the heel is immediately diagnosed as Achilles tendonitis and all the injuries are treated alike. The ability to differentiate paratenonitis from tendinosis or bursitis from calcified tendinosis will influence the rehab options and make a difference in the effectiveness of the treatment protocol.
Achilles tendon injuries are usually a result of strain and repetitive stress which t leads to inflammation and microtears within the tissue. These injuries are often a result of increased activity levels, heel bone spurs, tight calf muscles, improper footwear, improper training surface, or biomechanical abnormalities of the foot such as overpronation (flat feet), tibial varum or highly arched foot.
Achilles tendon injuries are classified by the anatomical zone and divided into following
- Paratenonitis with Tendinosis
Signs and Symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms are pain and discomfort in the heel and calf muscle, swelling and thickening of the tendon, more pain and discomfort with activity. In some cases patients might experience a severe pain in the tendon, followed with a sudden swelling and inability to move the foot. This could indicate a case of tendon rapture and would require immediate medical attention.
Treatment of Achilles tendon injuries will depend on the type of the injury and its location. All treatments will involve a three phase rehabilitation protocol focusing on protection, healing and gradual strengthening aimed at remodeling of the tissue. All our protocols are designed for the quickest recovery possible with your individual needs in mind. We will also discuss a maintenance program and make sure to educate the patient about the preventative care and provide guidance on injury prevention techniques.
Achilles tendon injuries are slow to heal and if not treated properly can lead to complications resulting in more damage. If you are having issues with heel or foot pain, if you are not recovering in a timely manner or would like a second opinion please contact us for an evaluation.