Have you ever experienced an injury seemingly out of nowhere? Not like a sudden twist of the ankle or a
fall, but rather just a painful sensation while making a very common motion. It happens all the time to
athletes and non-athletes alike. It can be one of the more baffling situations that you find yourself in.
How can taking a step all of a sudden cause so much discomfort? It happens to many people, though. If
you’ve found yourself in this situation, you’re far from alone.
Tendonitis can strike pretty much any major tendon in the body. Though we often think of tendonitis as
something that most happens in the arm, like with tennis elbow, it can affect our feet as well.
Remember, the Achilles tendon is one of the major tendons in the body. It’s also one that we rely on a
great deal when it comes to walking. Sometimes tendonitis can flare up in our heel, making life quite
difficult all of a sudden. If you’re suffering from Achilles tendon pain, you’ll want to know what caused it
and what your treatment options are.
The Achilles tendon
The Achilles tendon is arguably the major tendon of the body. While designating levels of importance is
impossible, what is indisputable is that the Achilles tendon is the largest tendon we have. It’s also the
strongest. If you know your Greek mythology, you know it’s named after Achilles, the legendary hero
whose only weakness was his heel. If you’ve ever suffered an injury to your Achilles tendon, you can
understand why. It can make the simple act of walking very difficult, if not impossible depending on the
severity of the injury.
Injuries of course range. For example, an Achilles tendon rupture is an entirely different story compared
to tendinitis. A sudden tear or rupture would cause severe pain that debilitates you. This is rare
compared to the chronic inflammation of tendinitis. Here is what you need to keep an eye out for when
it comes to Achilles tendon injuries.
Symptoms of Achilles tendon issues
Ruptures or tears in a tendon are acute and often lead to loss of function. An injury would be the culprit
here. Any kind of forceful motion that strains the calf muscle beyond its limits can lead to a rupture of
the Achilles tendon. The sudden pain may bring to mind a broken bone or other major injury. You also
won’t really be able to walk. In this scenario, you’d probably take yourself to the ER for evaluation.
Tendinitis is a different story. You’ll experience pain while you walk, but you won’t lose the ability to
walk. You’ll feel it as you push off with your foot and arch it. Pain will radiate into the calf. It may also
extend into the foot itself, and even up into the knee. This burning and soreness will make daily tasks
How injury commonly occurs
Tears are generally associated with athletes. Though, anyone who makes a powerful enough, awkward
motion could potentially rupture the tendon. Tendinitis, though, is far more common and can affect
nearly anyone. Athletes experience Achilles tendinitis due to overuse. The people most likely to develop
tendinitis are more casual athletes who really only train hard a couple of days a week. They tend to
overextend themselves without the proper conditioning, and then develop strain related injuries. It
could also be due to poor form or the lack of proper warming up before beginning an activity. Older
people, active or not, are also susceptible to these types of strains.
For most patients, recovering from a mild Achilles injury is a matter of getting the proper amount of rest
and making some lifestyle changes. Elevation and ice after activity will help the healing process. Proper
form and warming up will also be encouraged along with gentle stretching. Orthotics may be
recommended as well if deemed appropriate. Severe injuries require more care. Casting or splinting may
be necessary if the tendon is badly injured. It could take weeks or months before you can resume
normal activity. In the most serious cases, surgery may be recommended. This generally happens as a
result of a major tear in the tendon.
Issues related to the Achilles tendon can range in severity, but none of them are ideal to live with. Acute
injuries require immediate medical attention, but that shouldn’t mean you should ignore nagging
chronic pain. Tendinitis will only get worse without professional medical intervention. Relief is possible
with the proper care. You need the help of an experienced podiatrist you can trust. Book an
appointment online with us today. Dr. Blue will evaluate your condition and get you started on the road
to recovery. The team at Colorado Foot and Ankle Sports Medicine is dedicated to providing you with
the expert care you need so you can get back to being active.