Achilles Tendon Injuries

Achilles tendon injuries occur when the thick bands of fibrous tissue connecting the calf muscles to the heel bones withstand excessive stress and pressure. When the achilles tendon becomes inflamed and swollen, it is called tendinitis. A complete tear of the tendon fibers is called a rupture and requires immediate medical attention.


Overuse is the primary cause of achilles tendon injuries. Athletes are particularly susceptible to tendon injuries, although anyone can experience one. Achilles tendon injuries such as tendinitis can be chronic when not treated properly. High-impact injuries from falls or sports may tear the tendon completely, causing a rupture.


Pain in the back of the leg near the heel is the most common symptom of achilles tendon injuries. Pain will worsen throughout the day, making it difficult to flex the foot. When the tendon ruptures, a popping sound followed by sharp pain will occur.


To diagnose achilles tendon injuries, physicians will assess symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will look for pain, swelling, and range of motion. Imaging tests such as x-rays or MRIs may be used to identify tendon damage and possible bone spurs.


When an achilles tendon injury occurs, it is important to seek proper medical attention to prevent long-term injuries. Mild injuries can be treated with ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. If there is excessive damage from a rupture or tear, surgery may be required.

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