Achilles tendonitis is a debilitating, painful inflammation of the Achilles Tendon – a cordlike prominence at the back of the heel rising up toward the calf. Symptoms include an extremely piercing pain, a shooting or burning pain at the back area of the heel. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle of the leg to the heel bone. The degree of injury ranges from an irritated tendon to a tear or even a complete rupture of the tendon.
Common mitigating factors include:
- Improper training program for athletes
- Wearing footwear that is ill-fitted or badly worn
- improper warmup (or cool-down) for your activity
- lack of flexibility in the calf muscles
- wearing high heels that can shrink the tendon and become more vulnerable to injury
This injury is problematic among athletes especially runners and professional dancers, as both activites stress the achilles tendon quite heavily.
Achilles Tendonitis is a degenerative condition and should not be left untreated, otherwise a complete rupture may eventually result – a condition that is much more difficult to treat. When treating the achilles tendon, rest the area (meaning do NOT workout this area other than stretching), apply cold compression therapy for 10-20 minutes at a time for at least 3 times a day. Do this to the injured area for the first day to 3 days. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ may be used after the acute swelling is improved and rest prevents further muscle injury. Cold will reduce initial inflammation and swelling and the Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ circulates blood through the area to speed the healing process.
However, this is not what typical person does; they may ice once or twice and rest a bit, but most often just take some Advil or Tylenol and continue to commence their running or dancing. If the strain was minor, their body may be able to heal the muscle fibers normally. Unfortunately, this is not the usual result because the injured muscle is being used instead of rested. Because of the stress on the muscle, their body heals the injured muscle fibers by binding them together with fibrotic adhesions or scar tissue. This is done in an attempt to prevent further damage to the injured area. It is a normal protective response of their body.
The most common cause of an tendon inflammation (tenosynovitis or tendonitis) is overuse of the affected tendon. Rest of the affected tendon is all that is required in some cases. Other treatments such as anti-inflammatory drugs or a steroid injection are sometimes needed. Infection of a tendon is an uncommon cause but needs treatment with antibiotics if it occurs.
What is tenosynovitis and tendonitis?
* Tendonitis means inflammation of a tendon. (It is sometimes spelled as tendinitis.)
* Tenosynovitis means inflammation of the sheath that surrounds a tendon (the sheath is called the synovium). Tenosynovitis can be caused by calcium deposits, repeated strain or trauma, high levels of blood cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or gonorrhea.
These two conditions often occur together.