Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles Tendonitis is an injury caused by the overuse of the Achilles Tendon – the band of tissue connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is a condition particularly associated with sports such as running, tennis or basketball, and is characterised by symptoms which range from a mild ache to severe tenderness.

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What are the causes of Achilles Tendonitis?

Injuries to the Achilles Tendon are commonly encountered during any sport or activity that involves quickly speeding up, slowing down, or pivoting.

For instance, the abrupt action of a sprint start could prove too much for the tendon to handle, leading to pain. Similarly, the quick change of direction when chasing a tennis ball could have the same effect.

The most common causes and risk factors are:

  • Sharp movements on the ankle can cause Achilles Tendonitis to occur.
  • Individual Sports. Dancing, gymnastics and tennis are known to heighten onset.
  • Team Sports. Sports like football, basketball and volleyball are all linked with Achilles tendonitis.
  • Certain antibiotics called fluoroquinolones increase the risk.
  • High Heels. High heels can stretch the ankle and raise the likelihood of onset.
  • Suffering from Achilles Tendonitis gets more common as you get older.
  • Achilles Tendonitis is also known to be more common in men.

What are the common symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles Tendonitis causes a pain above the heel which is predominantly felt when stretching your ankle or standing on your toes. Typically, the pain will feel fairly mild to begin with and then gradually get better or worse over time – depending on how well the injury is cared for.

In cases where the Achilles Tendon tears, you will hear a ‘snap’ or ‘pop’ when it happens. A feeling of severe pain will then follow, leading to bruising, swelling, and significant difficulty pointing/pushing off with your toes.

Standing on your toes

How is Achilles Tendonitis diagnosed?

To diagnose Achilles Tendonitis, you will require a physical exam. This will typically involve the use of a calf squeeze test – seeing if your tendon moves when squeezing the calf – and a Diagnostic Ultrasound – imaging your muscles, tendons and ligaments.

What is the process for an ultrasound?

The technique is used to produce accurate images of your muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints within your lower limbs. In doing so, this makes it much easier for podiatrists to identify potential issues.

Here is what to expect when receiving a foot ultrasound:

  1. A small quantity of jelly-like gel will be applied to the ankle/calf area. This stops air pockets forming and interfering with the sound waves used to develop the images.
  2. A handheld device is then moved across the affected area, using sound waves to capture the image. This picture is then shown on the ultrasound monitor, where you’ll be able to see the interior of your lower limb in real time.
  3. By taking this image, your podiatrist can quickly identify whether there is an issue at hand. If there is, they will then be able to then determine your best course of treatment.
  4. The podiatrist will sit and talk you through what they found, discussing what the next steps are likely to be.
  5. If required, you will then start on an appropriate treatment plan to resolve the issue.

How can you treat Achilles Tendonitis?

Treating Achilles Tendonitis really depends on the severity of the issue. Minor to moderate injuries should heal fairly easily using a variety of home-based techniques.

Here are some of our top tips to speed up the recovery process:

  • Avoid putting weight on your leg as best as you can.
  • Use ice to reduce swelling.
  • Bandage the lower leg and ankle to again keep swelling down.
  • Prop your leg on a pillow when you’re sitting or lying down.
  • Perform podiatrist-recommend stretching exercises to strengthen the tendon.
  • Use anti-inflammatory painkillers to reduce pain and help with swelling.
  • Injection therapy: Injection of cortisone or high volume local anaesthetic can be used to treat the inflammation around the tendon for certain types of achilles injuries.

Achilles Tendonitis can also be treated using specially-designed orthotics. These externally applied devices range from prescription insoles, braces, splints and footwear, and function by taking the load off the achilles, giving it a chance to heal.

After looking at your foot posture, our podiatrists here at the Sussex Foot Centre will assess your ultrasound images to determine how the position of your foot influences the pain in your achilles. If they think that your pain can be eased using a tailored orthotic, they will then talk you through what the best course of action will be.

It’s important to remember that it can take months for an Achilles Tendonitis issue to fully recover, so don’t rush your recovery. Remain patient and always seek professional advice if you’re ever unsure about anything. 

Our specialist team of podiatrists here at Sussex Foot Centre are highly trained and can quickly diagnose a wide range of lower limb related issues. If you are suffering with ankle pain – regardless of how mild it may be – get in touch with us today or book in an appointment with us now. More information concerning Tendonitis can be accessed through the NHS website here.

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34 Sussex Road, Haywards Heath, Sussex RH16 4EA

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Great, friendly service. Would happily recommend.
I was in so much pain with my right foot because I got a cyst in it and just found Sussex Foot Centre in google and called them for booking appointment. The person I talked with was so helpful and they offered appointment on the same day. Everybody working at this place were so friendly and experienced. At my first appointment I had a consultation with ultrasound scan and clearly described me the next steps what would solve my problem and it really reassured me because I was so scared and tired from the pain and for long waiting time on GP referrals. For the treatment, I got an appointment on next day (again so fast!!) and already when I came out from the Centre could walk much better and the pain disappeared. I am so grateful for them and still going back for regular checking and advices. I also having issues with my nails too and I am sure I could get a quick solution on those issue too! Everybody having issue with their foot please don't hesitate to get in touch with Sussex Foot Centre - just give a try and I am sure you will don't disappoint! For me honestly was a life-saver. Thank you so much!
Tundi Bodi
Tundi Bodi
Highly recommended due to efficient, spotless, courteous staff with on time treatment. You could take a good step forward by using this team.
Brian Beesley
Brian Beesley
Excellent podiatrist- knowledgeable, professional, caring and quick. Thanks!
Murdo Guy
Murdo Guy
I can't thank this gentlemen enough. Pain in my foot had effected my whole life, no running, no water aerobics no tai chi and most of all no work as I'm a cook. Scan first visit, problem located plan worked out, return week later double appointment as we live hour away. Another scan, walk on treadmil, insole made...meanwhile he explained everything, so I could understand. I. Very impressed with the whole experience, and would recommend them to anyone
lyn murphy
lyn murphy
I have had toe nail surgeries with the Sussex Foot Centre and both times have had very positive experiences. Jon provided excellent treatment and care during the surgeries and in the follow up post surgeries. Jon and Thomas were professional and friendly and they have been so flexible and accommodating with scheduling appointments, as well as providing quick responses by email and telephone. I would recommend the Sussex Foot Centre. Thank you so much!
Josephine Zamat
Josephine Zamat
Jon Collins and team provide excellent patient focused, customer focused care. I have not met a better podiatrist than Jon in over 30 years in healthcare management and 10 years as a patient. As you step into reception you are welcomed with both smile and greeting. Even though it is a busy practice, changes in appointment are politely and readily managed. Forgetfulness and a missed appointment are taken in their stride! I attended first as an ”emergency” patient, three years ago. I was at the local hospital and the Sussex Foot Centre was suggested. I was seen the same afternoon. After months of hobbling, Jon treated my foot with professional skill, exuding warm reassurance. Regular attendance and treatment ensured rapid improvement. The specially created insole proved to be a boon. I have remained with Jon as my podiatrist for three years now. I can think of no reason why I should go elsewhere. I have no hesitancy in recommendinng him. When my GP asked me why I go over to Haywards Heath, my reply was that he is the best.
Malcolm Boyland
Malcolm Boyland
The treatment and service from Sussex Foot Clinic was excellent and I would highly recommend them to anyone. Over the counter and home remedies had failed miserably. Investing in some professional treatment and following it through diligently was well worth it. Thank you Jon.
E M Drake
E M Drake
I found The Sussex Foot Centre via Google and what a find! I started seeing Jon last summer with painful Plantar Fasciitis in both feet. With Jon’s knowledge, non invasive treatment and orthotics, I am so grateful to him for my pain free feet now! Jon and his team are so helpful, with total professionalism and extensive knowledge - I have learnt so much! Tom on reception is also so very friendly and efficient. Keep up the amazing work you all do.
Lisa Bailey
Lisa Bailey
A first class service. A friendly, highly professional medical approach . I have had effective, pain-free treatment for my footcare. Highly commended.
Ollie Swan
Ollie Swan