Achilles Tendon Treatment

Tendons are fibrous bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones, allowing the body to move. The largest tendon in the body is the Achilles tendon, which is located in the back of the leg and attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone.

When working properly, the Achilles tendon helps you walk, jump and stand on your tiptoes. If the tendon is injured, it may cause intense pain and difficulty walking. If you experience this type of pain, you should seek immediate medical care to prevent further damage.

Types of Achilles Tendon Conditions

There are two main types of Achilles tendon conditions:

  • Rupture — Ruptures occur when too much stress is put on the tendon and a tear results. Symptoms of a rupture include a “pop” or “snapping” sound accompanied by sudden pain in the ankle or calf, swelling and limited range of motion in the ankle. Playing sports is the most common contributing factor for Achilles tendon ruptures, especially in middle-aged adults.
  • Tendinitis — Tendinitis is inflammation in the Achilles tendon. Symptoms of this condition are pain (especially in the morning or after exercise), thickened tissue in the tendon and/or swelling. Achilles tendinitis is often caused by continual stress to the area and occurs frequently in athletes.

Treatment Options at Abrazo

Tendons contain few blood vessels, which makes them susceptible to injury from overuse. It’s important to begin treatment promptly, as these types of injuries often take longer to heal. Your physician will look for signs of an Achilles tendon injury, discuss symptoms and order imaging tests if necessary. Our team is trained to recognize and treat Achilles tendon injuries to ensure proper healing. Some of treatments your physician may recommended are the following:

Nonsurgical

  • Ice and rest
  • Medications
  • Orthotic devices
  • Stretching

Surgical

If pain persists after nonsurgical methods, your physician may recommend surgery for Achilles tendon repair.

Procedures may include:

  • Achilles tendon reconstruction — Repair to the tendon can bring functionality back to the ankle.
  • Gastrocnemius recession — Lengthening of calf muscles creates better motion in the ankle.

If you experience leg pain related to these conditions, reach out to our orthopedic team at Arizona Sports Medicine Center. Call 480-558-3744 to make an appointment.

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