The Achilles tendon is a very strong tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel. When the calf muscles contract, they pull on the heel, pushing the foot down. Thus the Achilles tendon lets us run, jump, and walk.
Typically an overuse injury, due to excessive jumping, or running up hills.
Pain in the back of the heel, increased with activity. Aching in the back of the heel when starting to walk.
Tenderness along the Achilles tendon near its insertion into the heel. Often there is thickening or swelling of the tendon.
Diagnosis is made by history and physical examination.
Rest, icing, avoidance of aggravating activity, and anti-inflammatory medications. Shoe heel lifts, and immobilization (casting or bracing) for severe cases. NO corticosteroid injections (can rupture the tendon-big problem).
Debridement of the tendon, or repair of the tendon for an Achilles tendon rupture.
Generally successfully treated with non-operative care.