Achilles tendon pain is often caused by Achilles tendonitis – a condition in which the tendon attached to the back of the heel becomes inflamed, irritated and sore. The pain – which feels like a sharp pulling or throbbing in the tendon – may manifest in the back of the calf but is typically experienced around the back side of the heel bone. Most people will also experience localized swelling and, sometimes, warmth. Diagnosis can be confirmed in our office using digital radiography and a high-definition musculoskeletal ultrasound.
In many cases, conservative therapy for Achilles tendonitis involves a custom insert that lifts the heel. Stem cell injection therapy can also be beneficial for this type of injury and occasionally, our foot and ankle specialists may recommend bracing. In more severe cases, the tendon will need to be immobilized using a walking boot. Severe cases may require surgery to repair the tendon damage. Physical therapy after initial treatment can speed recovery by increasing strength and range of motion.
Anyone experiencing pain at the back of the heel should be evaluated as soon as possible to limit the chances of further damage to the Achilles tendon. Delays in treatment can increase the probability of chronic damage and possible rupture of the tendon.
Kipferl Foot & Ankle physicians have extensive experience dealing with all soft tissue disorders of the foot and ankle. The Achilles tendon is a critical structure. Our specialists often use our in-office high definition musculoskeletal ultrasound system to make accurate diagnosis and get our patients on the road to recovery.