The Achilles tendon is the biggest one in the body. It’s made up of tough, fibrous tissue and links the heel bone to the calf muscle. Like all of the other tendons in the body, the Achilles tendon is strong, but lacks elasticity, meaning that it can become injured if it is stretched too far.
Causes of Achilles Heel Pain
Pain in the Achilles tendon is common, especially among athletes. Possible causes of Achilles pain include tendinitis, tendinosis, and tendon rupture.
- Achilles tendinitis
Tendinitis occurs when a tendon becomes inflamed and/or irritated, generally from overuse. Achilles tendinitis is particularly common in runners and other athletes. Pain, burning that worsens with activity, swelling, and warmth on the Achilles tendon are common symptoms of this injury.
- Achilles tendinosis
Achilles tendinosis is a chronic condition that occurs when the collagen fibers in the Achilles tendon deteriorate. It can occur when Achilles tendinitis is left untreated. Over time with Achilles tendinosis, scar tissue can form and permanently thicken the Achilles tendon, reducing the range of motion of the ankle.
- Achilles tendon rupture
When a sudden force is placed on the Achilles tendon, it has the potential to rupture. Rapidly pivoting the food, as basketball players often do, is a common cause of Achilles tendon rupture. While this injury is less common than tendinitis and tendinosis, it’s more severe and requires extensive medical care.
Never Ignore Achilles Tendon Pain
Pain in the Achilles tendon that lasts longer than a few days needs medical attention. Especially if you experience significant swelling over the Achilles tendon, difficulty standing on tiptoe, and/or stiffness in the ankle, seek out a diagnosis and medical care. If you ignore this injury, it can become much worse with time, and will eventually require more extensive treatment for healing.
At Suncoast Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, we offer a variety of treatments, including regenerative therapies, to treat Achilles tendon pain. If you’re experiencing pain in the ankle, contact us today to schedule a consultation.