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The Achilles tendon travels down the back of the leg from the calf to the back of the heel bone. There are several areas that are recognized, and each is susceptible for injury. The tendon area closest to the muscle is called the myotendinous junction and the tendency is for injuries here to be in younger patients in sports. Injuries at the lower 1/3 of the tendon occur in what is known as the watershed area. This area is home to injuries of middle-aged folks having a developed musculoskeletal imbalance occurring in sports or those having a standing job.
Finally, pain at the insertion of the Achilles, insertional tendonitis, occurs later in life and is associated with wear and tear and degeneration of the tendon.
Once inflammation occurs, rest is the best possible means to treat the tendon. Decreasing activity, ice, wearing shoes with supports to control foot function and heels to elevate the heel and place slack in the tendon are all primary treatments employed for relief.
When pain persists removable boots or casts are used to allow the tendon to be fully at rest. If the pain is associated with swelling or if a divot can be felt, MRI’s are used to determine if a tear is present. In cases of partial degeneration, shock wave therapy is used to allow the tendon to regenerate and form new tissue in repair. Surgery is used when the tendon is torn and degenerated and unable to provide enough healing by itself. Let the Doctors of Weil Foot & Ankle Institute help you with painful Achilles.
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By: Weil Foot & Ankle Institute, Published: May 20th, 2022
Review By: Lowell Weil Jr., DPM – Jan 19th, 2023