The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. It connects the two muscles that make up the calf (gastrocnemius and soleus) to the heel bone. Though it is a very strong tendon, it is susceptible to injury – especially with walking, running, jumping and other activities and sports that require excessive plantar flexion (going up on the toes). Achilles tendinitis occurs when the Achilles tendon becomes irritated and inflamed. Tendinitis is typically caused by overuse, such as a sudden increase in mileage or intensity. However, it may also be caused by biomechanical issues (flat feet, bow legged, decreased flexibility) or improper shoe support.
Common complaints of Achilles tendinitis include pain and tenderness in the back of the heel, swelling, stiffness after inactivity, and a gradual increase in pain with activity. Initial home treatments that can assist with pain reduction include ice, rest, and decreasing activity that increases pain.
Achilles Tendonitis is primarily treated conservatively with Physical Therapy. Common treatments include therapeutic exercise, transverse friction massage, joint mobilization, neuromuscular re-education and ant-inflammatory modalities. Severe cases of Achilles tendonitis can be treated with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections or surgical intervention.