What is the Achilles tendon?
The Achilles tendon is a tough band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. It runs along the back of your ankle right above your heel. Your Achilles tendon provides the strength and flexibility you need to perform many activities, like running, jumping, and walking. As your body’s longest and strongest tendon, the Achilles can endure a great amount of stress. Therefore, when the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed, injured, or torn, it can cause severe pain that interferes with your daily activities and quality of life. The multispecialty team at Tier 1 Orthopedic and Neurosurgical Institute has extensive experience treating all types of Achilles tendon injuries so you can return to normal activities.
What are Achilles tendon injuries?
The primary injuries that affect the Achilles tendon include:
Tendinitis is when a tendon becomes irritated and inflamed, causing swelling and pain. For example, you may notice the Achilles tendon thickening at the back of your leg above your heel. Achilles tendinitis is a common sports injury caused by repetitive stress from activities like running. Without proper treatment, Achilles tendinitis can become a chronic injury.
Achilles tendon rupture
The fibers of your Achilles tendon can tear, causing the tendon to break or rupture. This injury may cause a popping sound at the time of rupture and requires immediate medical attention.
How is Achilles tendon pain diagnosed?
First, the team at Tier 1 Orthopedic and Neurosurgical Institute asks about your symptoms and medical history. Then, they examine your Achilles tendon to check for swelling, tenderness, and restricted range of motion. They may also take tests, such as an on-site X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. These tests help your doctor confirm a diagnosis and determine the most effective course of treatment.
How are Achilles tendon injuries treated?
The Tier 1 Orthopedic and Neurosurgical Institute team provides individualized treatment for Achilles tendon injuries. Depending on the type and severity of your condition, treatment for an Achilles tendon injury may include:
- Activity modification
- Physical therapy
- Ice packs
- Custom orthotics
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Corticosteroid injections
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy
If your injury is severe or conservative treatments don’t work, your orthopedist may recommend surgery, such as removing damaged tissue or lengthening your calf muscles. For excellent care in treating all types of Achilles tendon pain, call the friendly team at Tier 1 Orthopedic and Neurosurgical Institute, or request an appointment online today.