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    Orthosports Medical Center  P.O. Box 71055, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, U.A.E.  25°14'14.0"N 55°16'03.6"E ,    +971 04 345 0601     Get in touch
Achilles Tendinopathy

If you’ve had read something or heard something about the Greek mythology, you might have linked the name of this condition to one of the Greek heroes of the Trojan War – Achilles. If you haven’t, maybe you can try checking out the movie “Troy.” This character was brought to life by the famous Brad Pitt. So, a little walk through of this character: He is one brave and strong man who is able to defeat his enemies. However, like many other hero stories, he too has his weak spot and that’s the area right above his ankle – the Achilles tendon.

Quick Anatomy

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It connects your calf muscle to the heel bone. Now, try pointing your toes. As you do this, notice your calf muscle contracting. Notice this tough band right above your heel bone. That’s the Achilles tendon.

CAUSES

Activities or injurys that produce a sudden tug to your tendon as well as overuse and demanding the tendon too much can cause this condition (Athletes and some people with hobbies that require running, jogging, jumping, etc).

This is also linked to a bone spur (extra bone growth) appearing from where the tendon is attached to the heel bone. This extra bone may put pressure on the tendon which then may cause pain.

CHIEF COMPLAINTS

  • Pain and swelling of the tendon that oftentimes worse with activity.
  • Pain and stiffness of the tendon after waking up in the morning or after keeping the ankle in one position for a long time (example: When traveling by plane and deskwork jobs).

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION

After informing your doctor of your level of activity, job-related activities, any injury that might have caused this, he then would need to inspect the affected area for any redness and swelling. Gentle palpation and/or squeezing the area may cause jolting pain. Thickening of the tendon can also be observed. Active and passive ranges of motion may be limited due to pain.

DIAGNOSTIC STUDIES

  • X-rays may be done to determine any bone involvement. Bone spurs, if any, can be identified as well.
  • Ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) may be done to visualize soft tissues that are not visible through the x-ray. This can also determine the amount of inflammation.

DIAGNOSIS

A tendinopathy has two conditions: Tendinitis (inflammation) and Tendinosis (tiny tears). This could be a result of sudden strain to the tendon and oftentimes with overuse of the calf muscle. Sometimes, it leads to worse, tendon tears or rupture.

TREATMENT

  • To avoid pain, one must need to stop or decrease the activity that causes pain.
  • Ice has its anti-inflammatory effects. Apply ice a few times in a day to lessen pain and swelling.
  • Calf stretches – exercises that bend the ankle or raising the foot – stretches the calf muscle.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories – your doctor may prescribe these depending on your individual need.
  • Physical Therapy – very effective for this condition. You physiotherapist will teach you exercises and will facilitate every step making sure you are doing the exercises right. He/she will monitor your progress and will help you plan your treatment program.
  • Percutaneous Electrolysis Therapy – the sought after choice of most people, especially athletes, suffering from long term Achilles tendinopathy. Click here to know more about this treatment.
  • Surgery – Lastly, if all other pain management is unhelpful because of recurrent pain or if a tendon tear is evident and cannot be managed by just conservative treatments, surgery is already highly needed.

Should you want to be evaluated for your ankle pain, click here to book an appointment with our orthopedic specialists. Our experienced specialist can help you get back on track in no time!