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Achilles Tendonitis

What is Achilles Tendonitis?

The Achilles Tendon is a strong band of tissue that connects the calf muscle into the heel bone.  This tendon can be damaged or injured in several ways and the severity of the injury can vary and range from inflammation to a tear in the ligament.  

In most cases, the Achilles Tendon is damaged during sports or activity.  A change in the frequency or duration of running or sports can lead to Achilles Tendonitis.  In other instances, a sudden change in direction with a planted foot or blow to the ankle can cause a tear in the Achilles Tendon.

The difference between an Achilles Tendon Tear and Achilles Tendonitis are:

Achilles Tendon Tear. This is classified as damage to the tendon itself and can be either partial tears or complete tears.  Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Tear can include:

  • Hearing a “pop” at the moment of injury
  • Pain in the back of the heel or calf
  • Swelling
  • Inability to push off the foot
  • Difficulty standing on the toes

Achilles Tendonitis.  This is classified as inflammation of the Achilles Tendon but the tendon is still fully intact.  Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis include:

  • Pain in the back of the heel
  • Stiffness
  • A noticeable lump
  • Swelling

At OSS Health, our Board Certified Foot and Ankle Specialists have helped thousands of patients with Achilles Tendon injuries live active and healthy lives using the latest non-surgical and surgical procedures. 

How are Achilles Tendon Tears and Achilles Tendonitis Treated at OSS Health?

An Achilles Tendon Tear is considered a much more severe injury than Achilles Tendonitis and therefore the treatment options can vary based on the diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Achilles Tendon Tears

At OSS Health, the treatment options for Achilles Tendon Tears are based on the severity of the damage to the tendon. In the instance, of a partial tendon tear include:

  • Immobilization
  • Rest and Ice
  • Activity Modification
  • Physical Therapy

If the Achilles Tendon is torn more than 50% of the way through the tendon or is completely torn (known as an Achilles Rupture), surgery may be recommended to repair the tendon.  At OSS Health, Achilles Tendon Repair is performed as an outpatient procedure so that you are able to return home the same day as your procedure.

During an Achilles Tendon Repair the following steps are performed:

  1. Incision. 1-2 small incisions are made in the area of the Achilles Tendon Tear.
  2. Tendon Repair. If the tendon is partially torn it is sewn back together using sutures and/or small anchors.

If the tendon is completely torn, tendon grafts may be used to reconstruct the Achilles Tendon

Once the incision is closed, the foot may be placed in a cast or boot and Physical Therapy is started a few days after surgery to restore strength and mobility.

Treatment Options for Achilles Tendonitis

At OSS Health, the treatments for Achilles Tendonitis are typically non-surgical and can include:

  • Immobilization
  • Rest and Ice
  • Activity Modification
  • Physical Therapy

Disclaimer: If this is a medical emergency, please dial 911 or report to your nearest emergency room.

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