The Achilles Tendon

The Achilles tendon is found at the back of the ankle attached to the calf muscle and the heel bone and is mostly used during the running exercise. Injury may occur when the tendon is overstretched, or due to incorrect footwear giving limited flexibility and comfort.
When this occurs a scar which is less flexible forms over the tendon and this can tear or rupture due to straining. We look into the medical conditions associated with the Achilles tendon in this article which are tendonitis and tendon rupture.

Achilles Tendonitis

This is the inflammation and irritation of the thick tendon. This condition is caused by overuse of the tendon during the running exercise. Most people suffer from this condition due to over-pronation and little or no flexibility whereby after too much running the foot bends, is inflamed and becomes painful. Slight tears may form in the tendon which increases the likelihood of the rapture taking place. Pain on the tendon is felt above the heel and any point on the tendon. Redness, stiffness and heat are felt over the ankle.

Most often it is caused by tired, stressed and over-exercised muscles. This occurs through hill running, drastic increase of the running distance, not properly warming up muscles before working out and running with too much speed.
Inadequate flexibility in running shoes strains the Achilles tendon by limiting its stretching and causing the tendon to twist and strain. Running gait also contributes to this condition whereby the foot rotates inwards.
There are various ways to treat this condition and the most important one is rest. Pain and swelling can be reduced and treated by use of anti-inflammatory drugs and ice packs applied over the area.
Massage three times daily and rest the leg in an elevated position till the nodule disappears. Swimming and gentle stretching are helpful in recovery. The healing process takes 6-8 weeks but medical advice is recommended if no improvement is felt after 2 weeks. To avoid recurrence and further damage of the Achilles tendon one ought to stretch and warm up muscles well before working out or running.

Achilles tendon Rupture

The rupture of the Achilles tendon results from over straining of the muscles. When the tendon is overstretched, sharp pain, snapping and maybe popping is experienced as the rupture occurs. Swelling, bruising and pain experienced when you point your toes are experienced.
People on fluoroquinolone antibiotic medication for urinary tract, respiratory and various bacterial infections are particularly prone to the rupture of the Achilles tendon. To correct the rupture the common treatment is surgery whereby the tendon is attached back. The other treatment option to this condition is casting for several months.