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Achilles Tendinitis


Achilles tendinitis

is swelling of the tendon that connects your calf muscle to your heel bone. It may happen suddenly or become a chronic condition. Your risk for Achilles tendinitis increases as you age.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your swelling or pain gets worse.
  • You feel or hear a sudden pop near your ankle.
  • You cannot bend your ankle or put pressure on your leg.
  • You have questions about your condition or care.

Common signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Pain in your heel that gets worse with activity
  • Swelling in your heel or calf
  • Stiffness in your heel or calf

Treatment of Achilles tendinitis

may include medicine, physical therapy, or support devices. You may need surgery or other procedures if your Achilles tendinitis does not get better with other treatments.

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage your Achilles tendinitis:

  • Rest as directed. Rest decreases swelling and prevents your tendinitis from getting worse. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop your usual training or exercise activities. Ask him when you can return to your normal activities or exercise plan.
  • Apply ice on your Achilles tendon for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Wear a compression bandage or use tape as directed. This will decrease swelling and pain. Ask your healthcare provider how to wrap a compression bandage or apply tape. If you use a support device ask if you should wear a compression bandage or use tape.
  • Elevate your heel above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your heel on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
  • Stretch as directed when you return to your exercise program. Always warm up your muscles and stretch before you exercise. Do cool down exercises and stretches when you are finished. This will keep your muscles loose and decrease stress on your Achilles tendon.

  • Do bilateral heel drop exercises as directed. Bilateral heel drops strengthen your Achilles tendon. Do not do the following exercise unless your healthcare provider says it is safe:
    • Stand at the edge of a stair or raised step. Hold onto the railing for balance.
    • Place the front part of your foot on the stair or step. Let the back of your foot hang off of the stair or step.
    • Slowly lift your heels off the ground and then slowly lower your heels past the stair. Do not move your heels quickly. This could make your injury worse. Repeat this exercise 20 times or as directed.
    Exercise for Achilles Tendon

  • Slowly increase the time and intensity when you return to your exercise program. Start with short and low intensity exercises. Ask your healthcare provider how and when to increase the time and intensity of your exercise.

Wear support devices or supportive shoes as directed.

Support devices may include a splint, orthotic, or brace. These devices will decrease pressure on your Achilles tendon and help relieve pain. Supportive shoes will cushion your heel and protect your Achilles tendon. Replace shoes or sneakers that are worn out.

Go to physical therapy and practice exercises as directed:

A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and decrease pain. Practice these exercises at home as directed.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.