Achilles Tendonitis

What is Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury in the back of your lower leg. The Achilles tendon is a strong cord of tissue that connects the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone. It helps you do things like walk, run, jump, stand on your toes, and climb stairs.

Achilles tendonitis is a painful condition that inflames the tendons around the muscles and bones in your lower leg. It’s caused by repetitive or intense strain on the Achilles tendon. Runners who suddenly increase their workout, and middle-aged people who only play sports on the weekend, are most likely to get Achilles tendonitis.

Achilles tendinitis can lead to a more serious Achilles tendon rupture.

What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis?

  • Pain that usually begins as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after running or other sports.
  • Worse pain after a lot of running, stair climbing, or sprinting.
  • Tenderness or stiffness, which usually improves when you’re active.

What Are the Treatments for Achilles Tendonitis?

  • Achilles tendinitis usually gets better with self-care like:
    • Rest to let the tendon heal.
    • Ice to relieve pain.
    • Pain medicines: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen:
      • NSAIDs like ibuprofen (e.g., Advil and Motrin) help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
      • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) relieves pain.

    Other treatments include:

    • Physical therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises to help the Achilles tendon and heal and strengthen the Achilles tendon and the area around it.
    • A shoe insert or wedge that slightly elevates your heel to relieve strain on the tendon help it heal.

    Surgery to repair the Achilles tendon if the tendonitis hasn’t gotten better after several months or if the Achilles tendon tears.