Telltale Signs of Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is a common condition among athletes who repeatedly put stress on their Achilles tendon, the connective tissue at the back of the heel. Recognizing the warning signs of the condition early can help you get treatment as soon as possible, so you can avoid invasive procedures like surgery.

At Alpine Foot & Ankle, we specialize in the treatment of Achilles tendonitis, so you can stay active. Scott Shelton, DPM, our double-board certified podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon focuses on minimally invasive techniques to support the full healing of your Achilles tendon and surrounding tissue.

What to know about Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis describes inflammation or tears in the Achilles tendon, the band of tissues that connects your heel bone to the calf muscles at the back of your leg.

While sports participation is often a cause of Achilles tendonitis, you can also develop the condition as you get older, and the connective tissue begins breaking down.

Other factors that can contribute to Achilles tendonitis include:

  • Obesity
  • Flat arches
  • High blood pressure
  • Use of antibiotics and other medications

Your choice of footwear can also play a role in Achilles tendonitis, especially if you run or play sports in shoes that are worn out or aren’t supportive.

If not properly treated, Achilles tendinitis can weaken the tissue enough to cause a rupture, a painful tear that needs surgical repair.

Warning signs of an Achilles tendon injuries

The earliest sign of Achilles tendonitis is a mild ache that occurs in the area just above your heel or in the calf. The ache may grow into a persistent pain that worsens with climbing the stairs or running.

In addition to calf and heel pain, you may also notice the affected leg feels stiff when you wake up and tender after activity.

If the tendon ruptures, pain may be severe and limit what you can do physically. Ultimately, you may not be able to put weight on the affected foot, so walking becomes more difficult.

Diagnosing Achilles tendonitis typically involves a physical exam of your leg to check for tenderness and swelling. Dr. Shelton might also order X-rays or an ultrasound to get a better look at the tendons in the back of your leg.

Exploring your treatment options for Achilles tendonitis

When you seek treatment for Achilles tendonitis early, you may be able to resolve your pain with rest, stretching exercises, and over-the-counter medications.

For moderate pain, Dr. Shelton might recommend physical therapy to rebuild strength in the muscles surrounding your Achilles tendon and heel. He can also suggest custom orthotics that provide extra cushioning to your heel to prevent additional pain episodes.

If you have severe pain from a ruptured tendon, Dr. Shelton discusses your options for surgery. He uses minimally invasive techniques to repair the damaged tendon and reattach it to your heel bone and the bone in your calf.

Call the Alpine Foot & Ankle office in Sandy or Highland, Utah, today to schedule a diagnostic evaluation of Achilles tendonitis symptoms. You can also book an appointment online.


If you do not see your insurance provider, contact our office.



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