5 Signs of Achilles Tendonitis

5 Signs of Achilles Tendonitis

Waiting to address a problem in your Achilles tendon can put you on the path to surgery and a long recovery period. So, here are a few early signs of Achilles tendonitis that you shouldn’t ignore.

Your Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body and plays the important role of attaching your calf muscles to your heel. From walking and running to jumping and standing on your tiptoes, your Achilles tendons work hard, day in and day out. This workload can come at a cost if you develop Achilles tendinitis, which sets you on a path to a full rupture and surgery if you don’t take swift action.

To help you recognize when your Achilles tendon might be in trouble, Dr. Rajiv Sood and the team at Spine & Orthopedic Center have compiled some common signs of Achilles tendonitis below. We also discuss a few ways in which we can intervene quickly to set you on a better path toward a healthier Achilles tendon.

The road to Achilles tendonitis

When we refer to tendonitis, we’re referring to a condition in which you overstress the tendon, and tiny tears develop, leading to inflammation in the connective tissue. As you might imagine, addressing the problem during this early stage is important because if you leave the tendonitis untreated, you run the risk of developing a more sizable tear or a complete rupture, both of which often require surgery to resolve.

It should come as no surprise that the lifetime prevalence of Achilles tendon damage in athletes is about 24% and about 9% among recreational athletes. That said, anyone who’s often on their feet can develop Achilles tendonitis.

Recognizing Achilles tendonitis

Now, let’s get to the primary objective of this blog — recognizing Achilles tendonitis. There are several signs that you should be on the lookout for, including:

1. Pain

This is one of the first signs of any musculoskeletal issue, including Achilles tendonitis. The pain can extend from your heel and up your ankle to your calf and usually occurs while you’re walking or running. It can also be most severe after a long day of using your feet.

2. Pain and stiffness  in the morning

If you have Achilles tendonitis, the inflammation can really set in when you’re not using your feet, such as when you sleep. As a result, your first steps in the morning might be hobbled by a stiff and painful Achilles tendon.

3. Tenderness in the tendon

If your Achilles tendon is tender to the touch, this is a sign of tendonitis.

4. Swelling in your ankle

If the area around your Achilles tendon is swollen, this is an outward sign of the inflammation in this tissue.

5. Difficulty pointing your toe

One way to really differentiate Achilles tendonitis from other foot and ankle issues is difficulty pointing your toe or standing on your tiptoes, which are hallmarks of Achilles tendonitis.

How we treat Achilles tendonitis

If you recognize any of the symptoms above, it’s important to come see us as soon as possible. After a review of your symptoms and advanced imaging, we can determine whether there’s damage in your tendon. If we do diagnose you with Achilles tendonitis, we can treat the problem nonsurgically through:

  • Activity modification (resting your tendon)
  • Physical therapy
  • Platelet-rich plasma injections to help the tissue heal more quickly
  • Orthotics
  • Night splints

We also recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to help relieve the pain and inflammation as we work toward healing the tissue. In many cases, we can deploy a combination of treatments that will help your Achilles tendon heal without surgery.

For expert diagnosis and treatment of your Achilles tendon pain, we invite you to contact our office in Jonesboro, Georgia, to schedule an appointment.