Tendons are tough fibers that connect muscle to bone. Tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon. It can cause pain and swelling and make it difficult to move. Tendinopathy may be:
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle at the heel bone. An Achilles tendinopathy is pain in this tendon.
Tendinopathy is most often caused by overuse of a muscle and tendon. Over time, the regular strain on the tendon causes the structure of the tendon to change.
Overuse of the Achilles tendon can happen with:
Achilles tendinopathy is more common in older adults due to the aging process. Other factors that may increase your risk of getting Achilles tendinopathy include:
Symptoms of tendinopathy may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and exercise habits. A physical exam will be done and the motion of your ankle will be checked. A diagnosis will be made based on the exam and history.
Tendinopathy may take weeks or months to fully heal. Treatments include:
Full rest is usually not needed. Tendons do need a break from activities that are causing pain. A gradual return to normal activity will decrease the chance of damaging the tendon again.
Other supportive steps may include icing the area, shoe inserts, or ankle taping. Prescription or over-the-counter medications may be advised to reduce pain.
To decrease your chances of getting Achilles tendonitis:
American College of Sports Medicine
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Achilles tendinopathy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114274/Achilles-tendinopathy. Updated January 22, 2018. Accessed February 22, 2018.
Achilles tendinitis. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00147. Updated June 2010. Accessed February 22, 2018.
Common disorders of the achilles tendon. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Foot Health Facts website. Available at: http://www.foothealthfacts.org/footankleinfo/achilles-tendon.htm. Accessed February 22, 2018.
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McCormack JR, Underwood FB, Slaven EJ. Eccentric exercise versus eccentric exercise and soft tissue treatment (Astym) in the management of insertional Achilles Tendinopathy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Sports Health.2016;8(3):230-237.
Zwiers R, Wiegerinck JI, van Dijk CN. Treatment of midportion Achilles tendinopathy: an evidence-based overview. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2016;24(7):2103-2111.
10/26/2010 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114274/Achilles-tendinopathy: Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
Last reviewed February 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT, GCS
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.