Tendinitis of the heel
Definition of Achilles tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis is when the Achilles tendon becomes swollen, inflamed, and painful at the heel.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
There are two large muscles in the calf: the gastrocnemius and the soleus. These muscles create the power needed to push off with the foot or go up on the toes. The large Achilles tendon connects these muscles to the heel.
Symptoms include pain in the heel and along the tendon when walking or running. The area may feel painful and stiff in the morning.
Signs and tests
The doctor will perform a physical exam. The doctor will look for tenderness along the tendon and pain in the area of the tendon when you stand on your toes.
The main treatments for Achilles tendinitis do not involve surgery. It is important to remember that it may take at least 2 to 3 months for the pain to go away.
Lifestyle changes usually help improve symptoms. However, symptoms may return if you do not limit activities that cause pain, or if you do not maintain the strength and flexibility of the tendon.
C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/31/2010