Achilles Tendonopathy

(Achilles Tendonitis; Achilles Tendonosis)

Definition

Tendons connect muscle to bone and often connect near a joint. Tendonopathy is an injury to the tendon. It can cause pain and swelling and makes it difficult to move. Tendonopathy may be:
  • Tendonitis—inflammation of the tendon
  • Tendonosis—tiny tears in the tendon with no major inflammation
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. An achilles tendonopathy is pain in this tendon.
Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles Tendonitis
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Tendinopathy is generally caused by overuse of a muscle-tendon unit. Over time, the strain on the tendon causes structural changes within the tendon.Overuse of the Achilles tendon can occur with activities such as:
  • Increasing your speed or running long distances too quickly
  • Suddenly adding strenuous hills or stair climbing to your exercise routine
  • Doing too much too soon after taking time away from exercising
  • A sudden or violent contraction of the calf muscles, such as during an all-out sprint
  • Running too much
  • Lack of flexibility of the calf muscles

Risk Factors

Achilles tendonopathy is more common in older adults due to the aging process. Factors that may increase your risk of getting Achilles tendonopathy include:
  • Improper or badly worn footwear
  • Inflexibility of the calf muscles
  • An improper training program—such as increasing intensity too quickly

Symptoms

Symptoms of tendonopathy may include:
  • Tenderness—usually just above the heel bone and often more noticeable in the morning
  • Stiffness that gradually eases as the tendon is warmed-up
  • Pain after activity that gradually worsens
  • Pain along the tendon during and/or after running
  • Swelling in the area of the Achilles tendon
  • Pain at the back of the ankle

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