Achilles tendinitis occurs when the tendon that connects the back of the leg to the heel becomes swollen and ultimately painful near the back of the heel or leg, says Dr. Funk. It is typically diagnosed as a result of “overuse” by the runner; and it is often brought about by increasing pace, distance, frequency or speed work.
Dr. Wiernik adds that pain is usually localized directly with the tendon, but it may radiate around the entire back of the ankle.
“In the early stages, runners may only feel it after their run,” he says. “As it worsens, they have pain during their run.”
If there is no swelling or bruising present, the runner is advised to work through the injury by making minor adjustments to their routine.
Diagnosing and Treating Achilles Tendinitis
If the problem persists or becomes more severe, it is suggested that physician intervention be considered. During this initial appointment, an assessment is performed to determine if the patient is genetically or chronically tight in the calf.
“Assuming there is no evidence of tear in the Achilles tendon, treatment would consist of the same at-home methods discussed earlier,” says Dr. Funk. “If it’s too painful and conservative methods fail, then boot immobilization may be considered until the tendon heals.”
If further measures must be taken, the patient is referred for an MRI to help determine the precise cause of the issue. Dr. Wiernik notes that Achilles tendinitis rarely results in any kind of surgical correction.