tendonitis is inflammation and tendonosis is degeneration and irregular healing of the achilles tendon. The achilles tendon is the large tendon located in the back of the leg that inserts into the
heel. The pain caused by achilles tendonitis/osis can develop gradually without a history of trauma. The pain can be a shooting pain, burning pain, or even an extremely piercing pain. Achilles
tendonitis/osis should not be left untreated due to the danger that the tendon can become weak and rupture requiring surgery.
Achilles tendinitis is typically not related to a specific injury. The problem results from repetitive stress to the tendon. This often happens when we push our bodies to do too much, too soon, but
other factors can make it more likely to develop tendinitis, including a bone spur that has developed where the tendon attaches to the heel bone, Sudden increase in the amount or intensity of
exercise activity-for example, increasing the distance you run every day by a few miles without giving your body a chance to adjust to the new distance, Tight calf muscles, Having tight calf muscles
and suddenly starting an aggressive exercise program can put extra stress on the Achilles tendon, Bone spur-Extra bone growth where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone can rub against the
tendon and cause pain.
Patients with this condition typically experience pain in the region of the heel and back of the ankle. In less severe cases, patients may only experience an ache or stiffness in the Achilles region
that increases with rest (typically at night or first thing in the morning) following activities which place stress on the Achilles tendon. These activities typically include walking or running
excessively (especially uphill or on uneven surfaces), jumping, hopping, performing heel raises or performing calf stretches. The pain associated with this condition may also warm up with activity in
the initial stages of injury. As the condition progresses, patients may experience symptoms that increase during sport or activity, affecting performance. Pain may also increase when performing a
calf stretch or heel raise (i.e. rising up onto tip toes). In severe cases, patients may walk with a limp or be unable to weight bear on the affected leg. Patients with Achilles tendonitis may also
experience swelling, tenderness on firmly touching the Achilles tendon, weakness and sometimes palpable thickening of the affected Achilles tendon when compared with the unaffected side.
X-rays are usually normal in patients with Achilles tendonitis, but are performed to evaluate for other possible conditions. Occasionally, an MRI is needed to evaluate a patient for tears within the
tendon. If there is a thought of surgical treatment an MRI may be helpful for preoperative evaluation and planning.
Treating Achilles tendinitis rarely requires much professional intervention. Ease the pain with OTC pain killers. Stretch and strengthen the Achilles tendon. Stop the condition from happening again.
Doctors treating Achilles tendinitis will recommend the following options for accomplishing this. Pain Killers - Generally ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) will ease the mild pain. Physical
Therapy, Stretches and exercises devised to lengthen and strengthen the Achilles tendon will help reduce pain and prevent future recurrence. Orthopedic Supports, Heel-elevating insoles or other
orthotic devices can reduce the strain on the Achilles tendon, helping ease the inflammation and pain.
Mini-Open Achilles Tendon Repair. During a mini-open Achilles tendon repair surgery, 2 to 8 small stab incisions are made to pull the edges of the tendon tear together and suture the torn edges to
repair the damage. During this procedure the surgeon will make one 3 to 4 cm long incision on the back of your ankle and 2 to 4 smaller vertical incisions around the long incision. These smaller
veritical incisions are made with a pair of surgical scissors and are commonly referred to as "stab incisions". Once the incisions are opened up, the surgeon will place precise sutures with
non-absorbable stitches to strengthen the damaged Achilles tendon tissue. This suturing technique reduces the amount of scar tissue on the tendon after surgery and provides better surface healing of
the skin. Unlike the traditional method of an open surgery, this procedure has less risks and complications involved. To learn about all risks you may face be sure to speak to your doctor.
So what are some of the things you can do to help prevent Achilles Tendinitis? Warm Up properly: A good warm up is essential in getting the body ready for any activity. A well structured warm up will
prepare your heart, lungs, muscles, joints and your mind for strenuous activity. Balancing Exercises, Any activity that challenges your ability to balance, and keep your balance, will help what's
called proprioception, your body's ability to know where its limbs are at any given time. Plyometric Training, Plyometric drills include jumping, skipping, bounding, and hopping type activities.
These explosive types of exercises help to condition and prepare the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the lower leg and ankle joint. Footwear, Be aware of the importance of good footwear. A good
pair of shoes will help to keep your ankles stable, provide adequate cushioning, and support your foot and lower leg during the running or walking motion. Cool Down properly, Just as important as
warming up, a proper cool down will not only help speed recovery, but gives your body time to make the transition from exercise to rest. Rest, as most cases of Achilles tendinitis are caused by
overuse, rest is probably the single biggest factor in preventing Achilles injury. Avoid over training, get plenty of rest; and prevent Achilles tendinitis.