The Achilles tendon is a big band of tissue running from the Calcaneus (Heel bone) to the Calf muscles. Its job is to store energy from muscle activity and release it again during movement giving you the ability to push off during walking and running.
Tendinopathy is the disease of a tendon. In this case we are talking about the Achilles tendon. Over the years there has been different terms used to describe the stages of tendon disease:
- Tendinitis – An acute tendon injury with associated inflammation.
- Paratendonitis – Inflammation of the outer layers of tendon.
- Tenosynovitis – Inflammation of the fluid filled sheath (Think of the tendon as a packet of spaghetti, the pasta is the tendon fibres and the plastic wrapping is the sheath. In this case there is fluid surrounding the pasta keeping it able to slide up and down along the wrapper).
- Tendinosis – A chronic tendon injury with cellular changes to the tendon, but without inflammation.
- Tendinopathy – chronic tendon injury with no implication about the cause.
The usual symptoms are pain with exercise and movement followed by stiffness after rest. Sometimes there will be swelling and reduced range through the ankle joint.
The calf is made up of 2 major muscles one of which originates from above the knee joint (gastrocnemius) and the other of which comes from below the knee joint (soleus). Both of these muscles insert into the heel bone via the Achilles tendon.
During contraction of the calf, tension is placed through the Achilles tendon. When this tension is excessive, due to too repetitive or high force movements, damage to the tendon can occur. This damage to the tendon subsequently causes degeneration and inflammation. The trauma can either be sudden (Tears or rupture) or gradual (Tendinitis or Tendinosis)
Treatment of the various forms of Tendon disease is complex and multifaceted. It can often involve a concerted effort by you and multiple health professions. Depending on the problem, this can vary from a quick fix to a long term management and coping strategy.
Our Podiatrists at Complete Feet Orthotics & Podiatry can provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan.
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