The Achilles tendon – the largest tendon in the body – connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and is used for walking, running and jumping. Achilles tendinitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon.
Achilles tendinitis is typically not related to a specific injury, but instead results from repetitive stress to the tendon. Other factors may affect the tendon like a sudden increase in the amount or intensity of exercise activity, tight calf muscles, or a bone spur.
Common symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon, especially in the morning; pain along the tendon or back of the heel that worsens with activity; severe pain the day after exercising; thickening of the tendon; bone spur; and swelling that gets worse throughout the day with activity.
A doctor will examine the area and order imaging tests like x-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for diagnosis. Nonsurgical treatments include rest, ice, and physical therapy. Anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone shots may also help. Braces or boots can ease pain. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive procedure that may stimulate healing.
Surgical options are usually considered after at least six months of pain and other symptoms. There are several different types of surgery that can lengthen the calf, repair the tendon, or transfer a tendon from another part of the body.Previous Page Last Review Date: December 19, 2017