Achilles tendonitis refers to the inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the thick connective tissue running between the calf muscle and the heel bone. Achilles tendonitis is caused by putting repetitive strain on the tendon— more like your body’s way of telling you that you’ve pushed it too hard.
If you’re experiencing weakness in your leg; calf and ankle stiffness; swelling along your leg, especially just above your heel; and mild ache in the back of your leg accompanied by episodes of severe pain after prolonged walking or running, consult an orthopedic doctor, for these are symptoms of Achilles tendonitis.
Your orthopedic doctor will perform a thorough evaluation and, once they confirm a diagnosis, will devise a suitable treatment plan. The following are some of the most common treatment modalities used for addressing Achilles tendonitis.
The R.I.C.E. method is the mainstay of conservative treatment for soft-tissue injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis. It may be used in conjunction with other methods to enhance treatment outcomes.
R.I.C.E. stands for:
- Ice to the areas of soreness and swelling
- Compression with an elastic bandage
- Elevation of the extremity above heart level
Your doctor will also likely prescribe oral anti-inflammatories or pain medications to alleviate the discomforts associated with the injury. If you want to avoid the side effects of oral anti-inflammatories, they may also prescribe topical anti-inflammatory medications.
If oral medications fail to provide adequate relief, your doctor may recommend injectable corticosteroids, which they will administer into the affected area.
Cortisone shots can provide pain relief up to several months. However, they are not recommended for any type of tendonitis that has already lasted over three months (chronic tendonitis). Mounting research evidence suggests that repeated injections into the tendon can weaken it, rendering you susceptible to rupture.
If R.I.C.E. has not helped relieve your tendonitis, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. A physical therapy program incorporates stretching and strengthening exercises, both of which can help alleviate your pain, improve your mobility and flexibility, and facilitate your recovery.
Strengthening exercises are beneficial for toning your calf and heel muscles. Strengthening exercises help these muscles able to better absorb impact and provide optimal support for the tendon.
Your orthopedic doctor will likely consider surgery for your tendonitis if the pain and other symptoms have not improved after six months of nonsurgical intervention. The type they will recommend will depend on the exact location of the injury and the extent thereof.
Achilles Tendonitis Treatment in San Antonio, TX
If you have symptoms of Achilles tendonitis or any other musculoskeletal condition or injury, visit us at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine for a comprehensive evaluation. Our board-certified orthopedic doctors provide the finest quality of care in the San Antonio, Texas area using innovative and highly effective treatment approaches.
Give us a call at (210) 692-7400 or use our appointment request form to arrange a consultation with one of our orthopedic doctors.