What Is Achilles Tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which is the tendon that’s activated when flexing the foot and ankle. In most cases, it’s an overuse injury caused by constant running, jumping, or lunging. As a result, Achilles tendonitis most often occurs in athletes, though it can affect anybody.
Achilles Tendonitis Symptoms
The most common symptom of Achilles tendonitis is a burning pain at the back of the foot. The pain can be exacerbated by strenuous exercise or wearing tight shoes.
Other common symptoms include:
- A sense of stiffness in the tendon
- Persistent swelling
- A limited range of motion
- Bone spurs
Achilles Tendonitis Treatment
The course of treatment that your orthopedic specialist recommends for Achilles tendonitis will largely depend on the severity of your condition, but most cases respond quite favorably to conservative treatments. The most effective include:
- Resting and icing the tendon
- Taking anti-inflammatories
- A physical therapy program designed to develop strength in the calves
- Cortisone shots
- Wearing shoes with soft soles or orthotic inserts
Though generally unnecessary, Achilles tendonitis can also be treated with surgery. During the procedure, your surgeon will make several small incisions into the back of the heel, mend any tears in the tendon, and debride or remove any damaged tissue.
Achilles Tendonitis Recovery Time
Recovery timelines for Achilles tendonitis vary. In most mild to moderate cases, any pain and swelling should subside after a week or so of rest. Most patients should be able to resume normal day-to-day activities after three to four weeks of physical therapy, and complete recovery should come within two months.
Surgically treated cases of Achilles tendonitis usually require more time to heal, but most patients can still expect to make a full recovery. Physical therapy can usually begin within two to three weeks of surgery, and complete recovery should come after two to three months of rehabilitation.
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