When your Achilles tendon hurts, it can severely disrupt your daily life. Fortunately, the team of expert podiatrists at Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle Center in Wheat Ridge, Colorado -- including Matthew Paden, DPM, FACFAS, Dustin Kruse, DPM, MA, FACFAS, and Brett Sachs, DPM, FACFAS -- offer expert diagnosis and treatments to ease your pain and help your body heal. Call or schedule an appointment online today to get the help you need.
Your Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body. The thick rope of tendon attaches your calf muscles to your ankle and feet, and together they enable you to walk, run, jump, flex, and bend your foot.
Your Achilles tendon is critical to your ability to move, but because it bears so much pressure and stress, it’s prone to injuries.
Achilles tendon injuries either develop over time from overuse or are sudden and acute, caused by trauma.
Achilles tendonitis, an inflammatory condition, is the most common injury to the Achilles tendon. It hampers your ability to walk. It’s an overuse injury, so it’s more likely to happen to athletes and others who are active and exercise frequently. Because your tendons lose elasticity as you age, older people are also more likely to deal with Achilles tendonitis.
Another common injury is an Achilles tear or rupture, which occurs when the fibers of the tendon tear and separate. If you tear or rupture your Achilles, you’ll likely hear a popping sound, followed immediately by feeling sharp, severe pain in the back of your ankle. You may find that you can’t walk after an Achilles tendon rupture.
Achilles tendonitis is typically caused by overuse and excess strain on the tendon, leading to inflammation. It’s common in runners, dancers, and athletes whose sports require a lot of jumping. These movements significantly stress the Achilles tendon, increasing the chances of micro-injuries that lead to inflammation.
Achilles tendon ruptures are typically caused by an acute trauma like falling, landing wrong after a jump, stepping into a hole and wrenching your ankle, or even quickly increasing the intensity of your training or sports participation.
You’re more likely to experience an Achilles tendon rupture in your 30s or 40s because the tendon loses elasticity as you age. Being overweight can also increase your risk.
Whenever possible, your podiatrist will treat your Achilles tendon injury conservatively, such as with rest, immobilization, and anti-inflammatory medications. These approaches often resolve your Achilles’ tendonitis.
However, if you’ve had a severe rupture, your podiatrist may recommend surgery to repair the tendon. He’ll discuss your treatment options with you and answer your questions to help you make an informed choice.
If you think you’ve injured your Achilles tendon, call or schedule an appointment online immediately. The sooner you can start treatment, the more quickly your pain will resolve.