What Is Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles Tendon is the longest and most powerful tendon in the body but can become inflamed and painful, resulting in a condition called Achilles Tendinitis. Prolonged Achilles tendinitis without treatment and diagnosis by podiatrists can result in tearing and weakening of the tendon. Typically, Our Podiatrists treats Achilles tendinitis through conservative measures such as stretching, custom orthotics, physical therapy, and X-rays which can be implemented during an office visit.
In some instances, further imaging such as an MRI may be necessary to rule out tearing or fibrosis of the Achilles Tendon. If torn, the Achilles tendon may require surgical repair to ensure the best quality of life for the patient. An evaluation by a doctor is always necessary for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Achilles Tendon Pain
Insertional Achilles tendonitis occurs on the back of the heel bone where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel. It may be accompanied by additional bone growth referred to as either a bone spur Achilles tendon is not only the largest tendon in our body, it is also the strongest, having the ability to withstand up to 1,000 lbs of force! With every step, the Achilles acts to propel our body forward over our feet. Life in an active city such as New York inevitably results in an incredible amount of stress to this tendon even on a typical day. Achilles tendon pain, tendinitis, tears, or other injuries can significantly affect the quality of life, ability to achieve health and fitness goals, and ability to work.
Despite its power, the Achilles tendon is also prone to injury. Areas of this important Achilles tendon lack a direct blood supply causing weakness and delayed healing in those regions. Achilles tendon injuries are particularly common in tennis, basketball, and soccer and should be seen by a foot and ankle specialist immediately. Podiatrist, Our Podiatrists are specialists in Achilles injuries and offers conservative and surgical treatments.
What Are the Causes of Achilles Tendinitis?
Achilles Tendinitis is a typically caused repetitive stress injury such as running. As the most reputable and trusted foot doctor in NYC, Our Podiatrists differentiate between two groups of Achilles tendon causes:
- Extrinsic factors: age, sex, foot cavity, metabolic dysfunction, muscle weakness, dysmetria, lateral instability of the ankle, and anatomical variation of the plantaris muscle.
- Intrinsic factors: mechanical overload, inappropriate equipment, constant effort, improper footwear, lack of stretching or warning, and direct trauma.
What Are the Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis?
Early treatment and diagnosis are vital for fast and effective treatment of the condition. Visit your foot doctor as soon as you experience any discomfort to prevent further damage.
Some of the most common symptoms that are worth paying attention to are:
- Cramping in tendon
- The tendons just behind your heel become extremely sensitive to the touch
- A small hard lump (or bone spur) on the back of your heel
- Morning stiffness and discomfort
- Pain in the back of the heel
- Pain that gets worse as you move around
All symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your Manhattan-based foot doctor or New York City podiatry office for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any serious underlying condition.
What Are the Different Types of Achilles Tendinitis?
There are two main types of Achilles Tendinitis. The location and pathology of the injury will determine what treatment plan your Manhattan-based podiatrist uses.
- Insertional Achilles Tendinitis occurs on the back of the heel bone where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel. It may be accompanied by additional bone growth referred to as either a bone spur or heel pain. Frequently this damage at the tendon attachment occurs in people who aren’t active.
- Noninsertional Achilles Tendinitis occurs just above one’s heel along the length of the Achilles tendon. This is the most common form and is primarily seen in athletes and active adults. Your doctor can evaluate and diagnose the cause of this pain and treat it from its root. With this type of tendinitis, swelling and inflammation will often be observed during the early stages of this condition. Your podiatric doctor will spend time creating a patient-specific treatment plan for your tendinitis.
How Is Achilles Tendon Diagnosed?
Our Podiatrists are world-class Achilles tendon specialists, uses the following tests to diagnose this ailment:
- Ultrasound. This test assists in assessing the degree of injury to the tend. It is also used to estimate the risk of rupture and tendinopathy.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It allows for more in-depth information about the condition of joint structures with a study in multiple planes. MRI is normally used to determine the extent of the damage. Your foot doctor doesn’t need an MRI to diagnose your pain. He needs it if he deems you a candidate for Achilles tendon surgery.
- Computed Tomography (CT). This scan is useful for excluding trabecular structural changes of the calcaneus in Achilles pathology of insertion.
- Lateral and axial calcaneus x-rays. It might spot calcifications in the proximal extension of the tendon insertion and rule out pathological bone tumors.
What Are My Treatment Options?
Your podiatrist will typically start with a conservative treatment plan. If conservative treatment is unsuccessful or a tendon tear is present, surgery may be necessary to repair the tendon. Your foot doctor will help guide you in the right direction based on your symptoms and lifestyle.
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Conservative therapy is the first line of management that entails:
- I.C.E., or rest, ice, compression, and elevation
- Various stretching exercises as determined by a podiatric or sports specialist or physical therapist
- Strengthening exercises
- Special shoe inserts or orthotic footwear
- Noninvasive shockwave therapy
- Walking boot
Surgery to repair the Achilles Tendon may be recommended by your podiatrist if conservative measures were to no avail. Our Podiatrists uses X-rays and sometimes MRIs to evaluate Achilles Tendonitis. Visit our podiatry clinic and meet a New York-based podiatrist and foot surgeon. They are one of the best podiatrists in NYC and among the top foot specialists in New York.
Areas of this important Achilles tendon lack a direct blood supply causing weakness and delayed healing in those regions.
According to the research on “Achilles Tendon” published on PubMed, approximately 85% of Achilles tendon injuries are deemed running-related. Tennis players and gymnasts are more likely to develop this ailment compared to football players. Various studies report a cumulative lifetime injury incident rate of:
- 9% in dancers
- 5% in gymnasts
- 7% to 18% in runners
- 2% in tennis players
- < 1% in American football players
An increased incident rate of Achilles tendon injury in the U.S. is strongly associated with an increased number of people involved in sports activities. Achilles tendon injuries are more common among males, which is explained by greater participation in sports activities. People between the ages of 30 and 50 are more vulnerable to this condition as they are only active intermittently.
Do you have any questions about Achilles Tendon? Would you like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized NYC foot doctor, Our Podiatrists of Manhattan Foot Specialists? Please contact our office for a consultation.Dr. Mohammad Rimawi has either authored or reviewed and approved this content. New York City Locations Manhattan Foot Specialists (Upper East Side) 983 Park Ave, Ste 1D14, New York, NY 10028
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