Achilles Tendonitis involves inflammation of the Achilles
tendon, while actual degenaration of the tendon is referred
to as Achilles Tendonosis. Injuries to the Achilles are
among the more common and difficult to treat.
The Achilles tendon is located at the back of the heel
and inserts into the rear portion of the heel bone. It is
surrounded by a vascular sheath which provides the tendon
fibers with its blood supply.
The Achilles tendon must be properly preconditioned to
withstand sudden stretches and the strain of body weight
during activity. If chronic tendonosis is ignored the tendon
becomes likely to rupture when the cells that repair the
tendon (tenocytes) cannot work quickly enough to heal the
damage done by the overenthusiastic athlete.
- Stage 1
- Burning or prickly pain in the Achilles about 1"
to 3" above the heel bone
- Results from inflammation to the vascular sheath
- May simply be due to shoe irritation.
- Stage 2
- Sharp shooting or piercing sensation occurring
during activity, especially when changing direction
or running uphill
- Achilles has begun to deteriorate (tendinosis)
- Stage 3
- Tendon has or is near snap or rupture
- significant swelling
- Collagen protein
fibers in the Achilles weakened and broken.
- Sudden overstretching of tendon fibers.
- Overpronation straining the soleus tendon.
- Oversupination or high arches straining the
gastrocnemius fibers in the calf.
- Constant rubbing of the shoe against the tendon.
- Improper warm-up.
- Direct trauma.
- Sudden dramatic increase in activity or intensity of
- Heel bone deformity.
- High-mileage, long-term running program without
Short Term Treatment:
- Decrease mileage and intensity for 7 - 10 days.
- Avoid hills during recovery.
- Ice treatment after running.
- Flexibility program concentrating on the soleus and
gastrocnemius, including stretching and heel lifts.
- Treat with anti-inflammatory pain medicines as
- Orthotics and proper shoe selection.
- If persisting for more than two weeks, see a
Long Term Treatment:
- Continuous flexibility program.
- Professional treatment by a physician.
For overall prevention, be aware of shoe
deterioration and purchase shoes designed to correct any
stride problems such as overpronation or oversupination.