The Achilles tendon is the thickest tendon in the body. Tendonitis refers to inflammation of this tendon. Pain from the insertion point on the heel, up to 5cm into the calf, represents symptoms of Achilles tendonitis. Overuse is one way to aggravate the Achilles tendon. Similarly the foot, and in particular the heel position, is also important to make sure the diagnoses of the cause is correct.
Achilles tendonitis is a precursor to rupture of the Achilles tendon. Just imaging this is motivation enough to sort the tendonitis problem out as soon as possible. The Achilles is made to withstand heavy loads as the body is propelled forwards but when inflammation occurs something is not right. Factors that may lead to Achilles tendonitis are many, including:-
- Calf tightness and weakness
- Poor foot stability and ankle inversion/eversion control
- Incorrect gait
- Hill or uneven terrain running
- Improper shoes, particularly shoes with worn out soles
- Over-pronation or over-supination
- Genetic foot alignment issues
As one can imagine, the diagnosis for the cause of Achilles tendonitis requires a full assessment of the foot and the movement of the heel and foot during gait. Treatment of the problem really depends on the findings of the assessment, but typically, heel inserts for the short term, eccentric exercises and stretches are all good ways to start to the rehab process.