Achilles tendinitis is a condition characterized by inflammation and irritation of the Achilles tendon, which is the large tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. There are two main types of Achilles tendinitis:
Noninsertional Achilles Tendinitis: In this type, the pain and inflammation occur in the middle portion of the Achilles tendon, away from its attachment to the heel bone. It often affects younger and more active individuals. It’s typically caused by repetitive stress or overuse of the tendon, leading to microtears and inflammation. This type of tendinitis is often associated with increased activity levels, improper footwear, or sudden changes in physical activity. The pain is usually felt during and after physical activity, and the area around the middle of the tendon might be swollen and tender.
Insertional Achilles Tendinitis: In this type, the pain and inflammation occur at the point where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone (calcaneus). This type of tendinitis is more common in older individuals and is often related to degeneration of the tendon’s fibers at the insertion site. Bone spurs can also develop at the attachment point, exacerbating the pain. Insertional Achilles tendinitis can be associated with certain conditions like Haglund’s deformity (a bony enlargement at the back of the heel) and may result from both overuse and mechanical factors.
The symptoms of both types of Achilles tendinitis include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the back of the heel or along the length of the tendon. The pain might be more pronounced during physical activity and can be accompanied by warmth and redness in the affected area. If left untreated, Achilles tendinitis can lead to more serious complications like tendon rupture.
It’s important to consult a medical professional if you suspect you have Achilles tendinitis. Treatment approaches can include rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises, orthotic devices, and in severe cases, surgical intervention. Proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help manage the condition and prevent further complications.