Achilles Tendonitis

What is the Achilles Tendon?


The Achilles tendon is the strongest and largest tendon in the body. The tendon attaches to the heel bone (calcaneus) and causes the foot to push off (plantar flex) when the calf muscles tighten. The tendon is necessary for normal walking, running, and jumping. Athletic and traumatic injuries to the Achilles tendon are common and can be disabling.


What is this injury?


Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon. Thus, Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The inflammation may be localized to the end of the tendon closest to the heel or may spread upward to affect even the muscles of the calf. Swelling often occurs and pain is felt upon contraction of the calf muscles. In severe cases, pain may be felt even at rest.


How does the injury occur?


The majority of Achilles tendon injuries are due to overuse injuries.  Other factors that lead to Achilles tendonitis are improper shoe selection, inadequate stretching prior to engaging in athletics, a short Achilles tendon, direct trauma (injury) to the tendon, training errors and heel bone deformity.  There is significant evidence that people with feet that role in excessively (over-pronate) are at greater risk for developing Achilles tendinitis. The increased pronation puts additional stress on the tendon, therefore, placing it at greater risk for injury.  Because the over-pronation puts such a great stress on the Achilles tendon, custom functional orthotics designed to control over-pronation are an important part of the treatment plan for this problem.




The latest studies on Achilles tendonitis recommend a treatment plan that incorporates the following four components:


     ~ Immobilization and evaluation for possible tear, stress fracture etc (Xray, Diagnostic  Ultrasound or MRI)

     ~ Treatment of the inflammation with Nonsteroidals and/or limited cortisone injection therapy (2).

     ~ Strengthening of the muscles that make up the Achilles tendon using eccentric exercise & Night splintage.

     ~ Biomechanical custom orthotics and proper shoe gear.


Achilles tendonitis should never be self-treated because of the potential for permanent damage to the tendon. At New Jersey Foot & Ankle Center we are committed to helping you achieve the best, long term results, in the fastest amount of time.