Symptoms and treatment of Achilles Tendinopathy

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body that connects the calf to the heel bone and is essential for walking, running, and jumping. Although the Achilles tendon can take on a tremendous amount of stress, injuries do happen. One common injury is Achilles tendinopathy.

What is Achilles?

Achilles results from repetitive stress on the tendon or disease. There are two type of Achilles —noninsertional and insertional.

Noninsertional Achilles involves the degeneration or swelling of the fibers in the middle portion of the tendon. This most commonly occurs in younger, active individuals.

Insertional Achilles involves the lower portion of the heel near the heel bone. The formation of bone spurs is common with insertional Achilles.

Symptoms of Achilles

-Pain and stiffness along the back of heel

-Severe pain during physical activity

-Thickening of the tendon

-Swelling along the heel

-Limited range of motion in the ankle

-Formation of bone spurs

Treatment options for Achilles

-Rest/Avoid high-impact activities

-Ice

-Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication

-Calf stretches and strengthening exercises

-Physical therapy

-Supportive orthotics

-Surgery to relieve Achilles only if symptoms do not improve after nonsurgical treatments