The Achilles tendon happens to be the body’s largest tendon. Through it, calf muscles are connected to the leg’s heel bone. They are essential when one walks, runs, and jumps. This tendon is prone to tendinitis. Achilles tendinitis is a result of overuse and degeneration, even though the tendon is capable of withstanding great stresses from jumping and running.
Description of Achilles tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis is a condition characterized by tendon inflammation. Inflammation is the natural body’s response to disease or injury, which often results in swelling, irritation, or pain. Achilles tendinitis comes in two forms. This distinction is based on the inflamed part of the tendon. They include insertional and non-insertional Achilles tendinitis.
1. Noninsertional Achilles Tendinitis
In non-insertional Achilles tendinitis, the tendon’s middle portion fibres begin breaking down with tiny muscle tears. Furthermore, there is swelling, and thickening of the affected area. This is common among young and active people.
2. Insertional Achilles Tendinitis
This type of Achilles tendinitis commonly affects the heel’s lower portion. This is where the tendon and the heel bone are attached. Tendinitis affecting the tendon’s insertion and the heel bone occurs at any time.
Additional bone growths (heel spurs) usually form with insertional Achilles tendinitis.
Causes of Achilles tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis does not have a specific injury that results to tendinitis. This means any injury affecting the tendon can lead to tendinitis. Continuous stress to the tendon may cause tendinitis. This happens when our bodies are pushed to do a lot that stresses the tendons. Nevertheless, other factors can contribute to its developing tendinitis, including:
- An abrupt increase in the intensity of exercise activity, for example, an increase in the distance one runs each day by a few miles. This does not give the body sufficient time to cope with the increased distance, hence, straining the Achilles.
- An abrupt and vigorous training program, together with a condition where one has tight calf muscles can overload the Achilles tendons with stress.
- Heel pain caused by the rubbing action of the extra bone growth in the Achilles tendon and the tendon.
Symptoms of Achilles tendinitis
The most common signs and symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include the following:
- In the morning, one can experience stiffness and pain along the tendon.
- One experiences great pain at the heel’s back, which worsens with activity.
- One experiences an excruciating pain a day or so after working out.
- The tendon thickens, as more stress is puts on it.
- Extra bone growth is appearing in the Achilles tendon in insertional tendinitis.
- There is visible swelling at the affected part that worsens as one engages in activity throughout the day.
Some problems can be healed with non-surgical tendinitis treatment. However, a sudden protrusion or pop at the calf or heel’s back is a clear indicator of a ruptured Achilles tendon. It is advisable to seek urgent medical attention from an ankle surgeon if one suspects they have a ruptured Achilles tendon.