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Achilles Tendinitis: Who is at Risk?

Achilles tendinitis happens when you get an inflamed Achilles tendon due to too much strain being put on it. Your Achilles tendon connects your heel bone to your calf muscles and is located at the back of your lower leg. It is large and can hold a lot of force, however, it still can get injured.

Risk Factors

Athletes who are conditioned poorly are more likely to develop Achilles tendinitis. Engaging in activities that involve repetitive jumping and sudden starts and stops increase your risk of getting this condition. If you change your activity level suddenly, wear inappropriate footwear, or train on poor surfaces, you also increase your risk.

Other risk factors include:

  1. Age
  2. Gender/Sex (men are more likely to get it)
  3. Athletes (marathon runners, dancers and basketball players are particularly prone)
  4. Medical conditions such as:
  • Psoriasis – This condition is a skin disease which results in scaling and inflammation. It occurs when skin cells grow deep in your skin and rise to the surface gradually.
  • Osteoarthritis – Obesity, injury, and aging joints cause this condition. Symptoms common to osteoarthritis include joint pain and stiffness. Certain joints, such as your hand, neck, wrist, hip, or knee, may become affected and you will require treatment, which is medication and exercise.
  • High Blood Pressure – Your blood is forced up against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps. High blood pressure happens when this force gets too high.
  • Gout – This is a form of arthritis that can often lead to severe and sudden attacks of pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, and warmth in your joints.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – Both sides of your body’s joints (including your knees, wrists, and hands) are affected by this condition. This condition can also affect your blood, eyes, lungs, heart, skin, and nerves.
  1. Medications. If you have been taking certain medications, such as quinolone antibiotics (Ciprofloxacin and Ofloxacin), you are at risk. These both stop bacteria growth and treat bacterial infections.

If you overtrain, you risk getting Achilles tendinitis. When you do too much at one time, you put too much strain on your Achilles tendon and don’t allow enough time for your tendon to recover properly. General degeneration and small tears result over time, which weakens the tendon resulting in pain and inflammation.

Treatment

Typically, changes in your lifestyle can improve your symptoms, however, if you don’t limit pain-causing activities or you don’t maintain flexibility and strength of your tendon, your symptoms can return.

Resting can give you time for your tissue to heal. How severe your symptoms are will determine what type of rest you need. If you have a mild case of this condition, it might just have to reduce your workout intensity. However, if you have a severe case, you will most likely need to rest for several days or weeks.

Applying ice on your Achilles tendon for 20 minutes a few times a day can help. If the area becomes numb, remove the ice. You can manage your symptoms with activity such as walking or stretching exercises. You might also have to change your footwear. You will most likely be put on Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or aspirin to ease the swelling and pain. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.


If you suspect that you have an Achilles tendinitis, seek an evaluation at Nilssen Orthopedic Ankle and Foot Center by clicking the button below. After diagnosis, we will implement an individualized Achilles tendinitis treatment plan for your recovery.