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The largest tendon in the body, the Achilles tendon runs along the back of the leg from the calf to the heel. It moves our leg and foot when we run or walk. Overuse of this tendon will cause it to swell and ache. Obesity or flat feet can also contribute to the condition.
Achilles tendonitis is a common sports injury. People of all ages can get Achilles tendonitis. Some common causes and risk factors include:
In some cases of Achilles tendonitis, the tendon can tear, which may require surgery. Another complication may include a bone spur forming on the heel.
Strenuous activity involving the leg, including running, sprinting, or jumping, can cause Achilles tendonitis.
Symptoms may come on gradually during your activity. Sudden, extreme pain in the tendon, resulting in an inability to put weight on the foot, can indicate a rupture in the tendon. A ruptured tendon requires immediate medical attention and treatment.
Signs of Achilles tendonitis may include:
Routine Achilles tendonitis diagnosis may involve the following tests:
Achilles tendonitis treatment includes:
If you added intensity to your workouts, get back to your workout routine gradually and warm up properly to prevent recurrence of your injury. If pain persists for six months or more, and non-surgical treatments fail to alleviate symptoms, surgery may be required to repair the tendonitis.
Your doctor may recommend Achilles tendon surgery after non-surgical treatment options fail or when the tendon is ruptured.
During Achilles tendon surgery, your doctor will make an incision on the back of the leg and repair the tendon. This procedure sometimes includes using other tendons to reinforce the Achilles tendon.
There are two types of Achilles tendon surgeries:
After Achilles tendon surgery, you can expect to be in a cast or walking boot for six to 12 weeks. Gradually, you may return to physical activity. Typically, a full recovery time after Achilles tendon surgery is about six months.