Achilles tendinitis

Alternative Names

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

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.

Treatment

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.

Expectations (prognosis)

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.

Review

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

Inflammed achilles tendon

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

Article written by

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability.