Achilles Tendon Problems

The Achilles tendon is the main tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is extremely strong and made up of collagen. It enables us to stand up on tip to and assists us in walking and running.

The Achilles tendon can be injured in a number of ways that may be age related or activity related. Sometimes the problem may be brought on by an alteration in the way we walk, or due to other conditions either in the foot or the legs. Age related problems may come about as the collagen becomes less able to absorb the stresses and strains that are inflicted upon it as we get older; sometimes exacerbated by training too hard or increasing the frequency or duration of training too quickly (overuse injury).

The symptoms experienced can vary, but usually include pain at the back of the ankle or heel, swelling over the tendon, and sometimes warmth and redness. These symptoms may only occur either during or after exercise, but as they get more severe, they may occur when walking.

Assessment of the Achilles tendon will involve looking at the ankle and feet. If an underlying condition is thought to be involved, blood tests and X-rays may also be performed. An ultrasound or an MRI scan is often useful to assess the tendon if surgery is being considered. 

Treatment options