What is Achilles Tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury affecting the Achilles tendon, the thick, fibrous cord that connects the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone. The condition is characterized by inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the area of the tendon, usually caused by repetitive stress or excessive loading. Achilles tendonitis is a common issue in athletes, particularly those involved in running or high-impact sports, but it can also occur in people who are not athletically active.
There are two types of Achilles tendonitis, based on which part of the tendon is inflamed.
Insertional Achilles Tendonitis
Affects the lower part of the tendon where it attaches to the heel bone. This type can occur even in people who are not active and is often associated with heel spurs.
Non-insertional Achilles Tendonitis
Affects the middle portion of the tendon, typically in younger, active people. In this type, the fibres in the middle of the tendon break down with tiny tears, swell, and thicken.
Achilles tendonitis commonly occurs from shearing and traction forces on the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel.
When the foot pronates (“rolls inwards”) excessively, it can create increased traction or over-stretching of the Achilles tendon. This results in increased shearing forces on the tendon which commonly leads to inflammation and pain. Often a lumpy build-up of scar tissue occurs.
Sharp pain at the back of the leg, just above the heel, limited ankle flexibility and inflammation over the affected area are often present.
When the foot pronates (“rolls inwards”) excessively, it can create increased traction or over-stretching of the Achilles tendon. This results in increased shearing forces on the tendon, which commonly leads to inflammation and pain.
Often a lumpy build-up of scar tissue occurs.
Achilles Tendonitis in Children
Achilles tendonitis is less commonly found in children than in adults, but it can occur, especially in young athletes or active kids. Overuse or intense physical activity can put stress on the Achilles tendon and lead to inflammation and pain. Children who participate in sports like soccer, basketball, or track and field may be more susceptible to Achilles tendonitis.
Achilles Tendonitis Treatment
By preventing the feet from rolling inwards through the use of orthotics (custom-made shoe inserts), this reduces the over-stretching and traction on the Achilles tendon, therefore alleviating the problems.
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