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What is Achilles Tendinitis?

The Achilles tendon is the tendon formed by the calf muscles (Gastrocnemius and Soleus). Its inserts at the back of the heel. Sometimes the insertion (insertional) or middle part (non-insertional) of the tendon can become painful and thickened (tendinopathy). This can present with startup pain (pain after getting out of bed or from a chair) and swelling.

What is the treatment for Achilles tendinitis?

It is important to understand that recovery is often prolonged (12 to 18 months), requiring different treatment options. Most often the condition will resolve with conservative treatment which includes:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Orthotics
  • Rest/ activity modification
  • Shockwave therapy

If these measures fail over an extended period, surgery can be considered. For the middle part (non-insertional), the tendon can be cleaned of abnormal tissue. For the insertional part the tendon can also be cleaned, or a bone cut (osteotomy) done. Sometimes another tendon can be moved to the heel bone as well to support the Achilles tendon.

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