Achilles tendon injuries often occur with athletic activities. It is most common to see people injure their Achilles tendon when they are middle aged. Achilles tendons are prone to injury when patients have had chronic Achilles tendinitis.
Achilles tendinitis in the mid substance of the Achilles tendon occurs when patients have chronic inflammation around the Achilles tendon. This can be caused from mechanical issues and especially from a tight Achilles tendon and calf muscle, which is called equinus. The Achilles tendon typically will have swelling which is palpable. Treatment for this in the early stages is icing and resting and using anti-inflammatories. We also use orthotics and heel lifts to help support the tendon better. Physical therapy can also be helpful in this stage and eccentric Achilles tendon stretching exercises specifically can be very helpful.
Insertional Achilles tendinitis typically involves a bone spur on the posterior aspect of the calcaneus. Patients with this issue can also benefit from similar conservative therapy that is used to treat midsubstance Achilles tendinitis. If the bone spur continues to irritate the Achilles tendon and cause shoe fitting issues, this can be a situation where the bone spur needs to be surgically removed in order to alleviate the pain.
When patients have chronic degeneration of the Achilles tendon, called Achilles tendinosis, they are more predisposed for an Achilles tendon rupture. Achilles tendon ruptures are not always painful, and often times, patients feel like something hit them in the back of the leg when the Achilles tendon ruptures. If patients are healthy and active, we typically recommend surgical intervention to try and restore the appropriate tension to the Achilles tendon. This gives much better functional outcomes more long-term for patients, so they can return to athletic activities. When patients are older or sedentary, Achilles tendon ruptures can be treated with a plantarflexed nonweightbearing cast to try to let the tendon heal as much is possible. The problem with this is that the functionality of the Achilles tendon does not return as well and can cause gait abnormalities and functional deficits more long-term.
If you are suffering from any foot and ankle problems, call your expert Colorado Springs foot and ankle surgeons today at 719-488-4664. The whole team at Foot and Ankle Institute of Colorado is here to help you with all of your family's foot and ankle needs.