Achilles tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy starts with a series of very small tears (microtears) in the connective tissue in or around the Achilles tendon. Although this problem is not caused by inflammation, it is still often called Achilles tendinitis.

Symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy may include pain and tenderness in the affected area, along with decreased strength and movement in the lower leg.

Achilles tendinopathy is caused by overuse and is most often seen in active people who have engaged in activities such as a sudden increase in running distance, a change in walking or running surface, or a long hike. Initial treatment often consists of rest, ice massage, and pain medicines, followed by gentle stretching of the Achilles tendon.

Achilles tendinopathy weakens the tendon and may make the tendon more vulnerable to tear or rupture. The risk for rerupture increases if the condition is not treated. It can require weeks to months of rest for the tendon to slowly repair itself.

Last Updated: January 27, 2009

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine & Patrick J. McMahon, MD - Orthopedics

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