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Understanding Achilles Tendon Pain: Causes and Treatment Options

Achilles tendon pain is a condition that can significantly hinder mobility and daily activities. Achilles tendon pain is a condition that can significantly hinder mobility and daily activities.

Achilles tendon pain is a condition that can significantly hinder mobility and daily activities. Dr. John Paul Elton of Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery is a distinguished physician focused on the care of foot and ankle injuries for patients in Colorado. Whether navigating the rugged terrain of the Rocky Mountains or enjoying recreational activities, understanding Achilles tendon pain is essential for maintaining an active lifestyle. Today, we will dive into the causes and treatment of Achilles tendon pain.


Causes of Achilles Tendon Pain


The Achilles tendon is a robust band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It plays a crucial role in activities such as walking, running, and jumping. Achilles tendon pain can arise from various factors, including overuse, sudden increases in physical activity, inadequate stretching, and improper footwear. Additionally, individuals with tight calf muscles or those who participate in activities that place excessive stress on the tendon are at higher risk of developing Achilles tendon pain.


Achilles Tendonitis


One of the most common causes of Achilles tendon pain is tendonitis, an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Achilles tendonitis often manifests as pain and stiffness along the back of the heel, particularly upon waking or after periods of inactivity. It can present as acute or chronic pain and may worsen with continued activity. Factors such as age, excessive pronation in the patient’s gait, and poor biomechanics can contribute to the development of Achilles tendonitis.


Achilles Tendon Tears


In more severe cases, Achilles tendon pain may be due to a tear or rupture in the tendon. A tear typically occurs as a result of sudden, forceful movements or direct trauma to the area. Individuals with a torn Achilles tendon may experience a sudden, sharp pain in the back of the ankle, swelling, and difficulty walking. Tendon tears require prompt medical attention to prevent long-term complications and restore function.


Conservative Treatment Options for Achilles Tendon Pain


Fortunately, conservative treatment can be effective in many cases of Achilles tendonitis. These may include rest, ice therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and physical therapy. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve flexibility and strengthen the surrounding muscles, reducing strain on the tendon. Additionally, orthotic devices and proper footwear can provide support and alleviate pressure on the Achilles tendon.


Surgical Treatment for Achilles Tendon Tears


Surgical intervention is likely necessary to repair the tendon and restore function in cases of severe Achilles tendon tears or ruptures. Surgical techniques may vary depending on the extent of the injury and the patient's individual needs. Common procedures include open repair, percutaneous repair, and minimally invasive techniques such as arthroscopic surgery. Following surgery, patients undergo a comprehensive rehabilitation program to regain strength, flexibility, and mobility.


Achilles Tendon Pain? Contact VSON Today!

Achilles tendon pain can significantly impact an individual's quality of life, making timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment essential. Dr. Elton and the team at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery are dedicated to providing expert care for foot and ankle injuries, including Achilles tendon pain.


By understanding the causes and treatment options available, patients can take proactive steps to manage their condition and return to the activities they love. If you are experiencing Achilles tendon pain or suspect a tendon injury, don't hesitate to schedule a consultation with our experienced team today.


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