The Achilles tendon is the tendon in your body which stretches from the heel bone to your calf muscles. It appears as a band of tissue at the back of your ankle and above your heel. The Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone over a broad area, and it is prone to being injured.
The exertion of force or repeated stress on the tendon, where it attaches (inserts) to the heel bone can cause tearing, swelling and pain. This eventually leads to wearing and tearing of the tendon. Insertional Achilles tendinitis is the degeneration of the fibers of the Achilles tendon directly at its insertion into the heel bone.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis
The symptoms of insertional Achilles tendinitis are :-
• Pain and tenderness at the back of the heel
• Tenderness to palpation
• Swelling around the heel region
How do you diagnose Achilles Tendonitis
This condition is a clinical diagnosis, however, your doctor may advise you to have x-rays or an MRI done to exclude certain medical conditions like:-
Can Achilles tendonitis heal on its own?
Most achilles tendonitis can heal on their own, achieve good function and this can often be achieved without surgery.
For recalcitrant injuries and patient with athletic requirements , other modalities which have been used to improve the healing process is the use of platelet rich plasma injection. Some authors advocate this as a reasonable option and alternative prior to any surgical solution.
What percentage of Achilles tendonitis require Surgery?
It is uncommon to operate on an achilles tendonitis. However, In cases when they are deep partial tear and when more than 90 percent of the tendon is torn, surgery would be recommended. Tendon lengthening may performed if failed conservative management and if a shortened and tight tendon is deemed to be the cause of the pain
Treatments of Achilles Tendonitis
Insertional Achilles tendonitis can be treated conservatively or by surgical methods. The conservative method includes:
● Using over-the-counter medicines, like paracetamol for the pain
● Prescription medications like NSAIDS (Non- steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
Strategies to alleviate the Symptoms
Limit use and rest the tendon from activities that worsen symptoms.
Splints or braces may be ordered to decrease stress on the injured tissues.
Apply ice packs on the ankle to reduce swelling
Avoid activities that bring on the symptoms and increase stress on the tendons, like lunging and jumping
Anti-inflammatory medications and PRP injections may be ordered to treat pain and swelling.
Physical therapy may be ordered for strengthening and stretching exercises to the tendon achilles once your symptoms have decreased.
Pulsed ultrasound may be utilized to increase blood flow and promote healing to the injured tendons. (Shockwave therapy)
If you are facing an achilles tendonitis issue that you wish to resolve, please do not hesitate to contact our team at Spire Orthopaedics. Book a consultation session with us if you have any questions for our Doctor