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Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis refers to swelling and pain in the large tendon at the back of the ankle. It’s a relatively common condition which can be caused by excessive exercise or poorly-fitting shoes.

I have a question about Achilles tendonitis treatment

What is Achilles tendonitis?

The Achilles tendon is a strong band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and allows you to jump, walk, run and stand on the balls of your feet. Achilles tendonitis is a painful inflammation or swelling of the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle.

There are two types of Achilles tendonitis:

  • Insertional Achilles tendonitis: this affects the lower part of the tendon, where it attaches to your heel bone
  • Non-insertional Achilles tendonitis: this affects the fibres in the middle part of the tendon and usually affects younger, more active people

What causes Achilles tendonitis?

A torn Achilles tendon can be caused by excessive exercise or exercising without warming up first. It can also be caused by playing sports which involve sudden movement of the leg and foot, such as tennis and football, or those that involve repeated use of the tendon, particularly running.

Wearing old, or poorly fitting shoes, or wearing high heels for long periods of time, can also cause damage, and rheumatoid arthritis is also believed to be linked to the condition.

All these scenarios can lead to damage to the Achilles tendon that isn’t able to heal properly and over a period of time this can lead to tendonitis (a swollen tendon).

How do I recognise Achilles tendonitis symptoms?

General symptoms of tendonitis include:

  • Pain that worsens when the affected area is moved
  • Stiffness, usually worse in the morning
  • Weak movement, or an inability to move the affected joint
  • A swollen tendon, which is sometimes warm to touch
  • A feeling of grating as the tendon moves
  • A lump on the affected area

Our team can help if you’re suffering from Achilles tendonitis symptoms.

Why would I have treatment for Achilles tendonitis?

If you’re suffering from stiffness, pain at the back of the ankle and sometimes swelling at the back of the heel, which is often worse in the morning.

How is Achilles tendonitis diagnosed?

We will usually be able to diagnose Achilles tendonitis after a quick examination and some questions about the pain and swelling in your heel or calf.  Any further treatment will be recommended, if required. Sometimes further tests, such as an x-ray, ultrasound scan or MRI scan, may be required to confirm the diagnosis.

How is Achilles tendonitis pain treated?

Treatment for Achilles tendonitis can range from rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) and anti-inflammatory medication to more invasive treatments such as steroid injections or surgery, if the tendon is torn or ruptured.

Your doctor may advise that you switch to a less strenuous form of exercise or recommend that you undergo physiotherapy.

What happens during treatment for Achilles tendonitis?

Treatment for Achilles tendonitis pain begins with resting your tendon and allowing your swollen tendon to heal. In more serious cases you may require crutches, medication or surgery.

How much does Achilles tendonitis treatment cost?

You can find out more about the cost of treating your Achilles tendonitis from the orthopaedic section of our Pricing page or by calling our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158.

Sports injury care at Benenden Hospital

Sports injury care

Whether you're an amateur or a professional athlete, sports injuries can be a frustrating and painful part of participating in physical activity.

That's why we offer a wide range of self-pay treatment options - so you can get back to taking part in the sports you love.

Our Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons

Mr Southgate

Crispin Southgate

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Southgate's specialities include foot and ankle conditions - covering sports injuries and more.

Contact us about Achilles tendonitis treatment

It's easy to find out more about treatment by giving us a call or completing our enquiry form.