At Laser Foot Surgery Centers our providers specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of tendon conditions in the foot and ankle, such as Achilles Tendonitis. We work together with our patients to determine the causes and best treatment plan for Achilles tendinosis.
What is an Achilles Tendon
An Achilles tendon is a thick tendon located in the back of the leg. The heel bone is attache to two muscles in the leg called the Gastrocnemius and the Soleus, this forms the Achilles tendon. The body uses this tendon to push off while walking, running and jumping and is the strongest tendon in the body. The Achilles tendon aids walking by helping to raise the heel off the ground is crucial for walking, running and jumping.
Causes of Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles (uh-KILL-eez) tendon causing inflammation in the band of tissue that connects the calf muscles in the posterior aspect of the lower leg to the heel bone. Inflammation may be short-lived if resolved. If it is not resolved the condition may progress to degeneration or rupture of the tendon.
Achilles tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It is common in middle-aged “weekend warriors” who perform strenuous exercise on their days off work.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis
Pain associated with Achilles Tendonitis usually begins as a moderate ache in the back of the leg/heel after physical activity. Pain can worsen with extended running or other physical activities.
- Discomfort, pain or swelling in the back of your heel that is worse in the morning or with physical activity.
- Limited range of motion while flexing the foot.
- The skin on the heel may be warm to the touch.
How To Diagnose Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles Tendonitis is diagnosed by a provider at Laser Foot Surgery Centers by our providers asking a few questions about the pain and swelling and a physical to observe the range of motion and flexibility. Imaging such as an x-ray, MRI or Ultrasound may also be ordered.
When to Seek Treatment for Achilles Tendonitis
It is important with any foot and ankle injury to seek medical care. With Achilles Tendonitis, it is most beneficial to seek care immediately.
Treatment for Achilles Tendonitis can be conservative or with surgery depending on the patient’s symptoms and severity.
- Rest and reducing your physical activity.
- Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen muscles.
- Applying ice to the painful inflamed area and elevating the foot.
- Anti-inflammatory medication can help with pain and inflammation.
- Supportive footwear or custom orthotics. At Laser Foot Surgery Centers we use an innovative method called a VFAS procedure to fit orthotics that can be taken home the same day.
- EPA or Shock Wave Treatment has been shown to help with the pain.
- Chronic cases will need Achilles tendon repair surgery.
Achilles Tendonitis Surgery
Achilles tendon repair surgery can usually be done as a minimally invasive and minimal incision procedure.
Achilles Tendon takes around 6-8 weeks to heal after surgery depending on the severity.
The Achilles tendons are thick and powerful bands of fibrous tissue. They connect your calf muscles to your heel bones. The tendons help you walk, run and jump. And that means they are under a lot of stress, making injuries to the Achilles tendons common.
This outpatient procedure is used in the correction of conditions such as flatfoot, chronic Achilles tendonitis, or equinus (commonly called toe walking). Gastrocnemius recession lengthens the muscles and tendons at the back of the leg, allowing the heel to shift downward into a more natural position. In many cases, this technique is performed as an alternative to Percutaneous Tendo-Achilles Lengthening, which can permanently weaken the Achilles tendon.
This outpatient procedure is designed to repair a damaged Achilles tendon. During the procedure, injured and scarred tissue is removed. This can reduce or eliminate the pain of tendinitis.