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Achilles Tendinitis

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the back of the heel. Achilles tendinitis is a common injury that makes the tendon swell, stretch, or tear.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

About Achilles Tendinitis

An Achilles tendon injury results from a stretch, tear, or irritation to the tendon connecting the calf muscle to the back of the heel. These injuries can be so sudden and agonizing that they have been known to bring down charging professional football players in shocking fashion.

The most common cause of Achilles tendon tears is a problem called tendinitis, a degenerative condition caused by aging or overuse. When a tendon is weakened, trauma can cause it to rupture.

Achilles tendon injuries are common in middle-aged "weekend warriors" who may not exercise regularly or take time to stretch properly before an activity.

Among professional athletes, most Achilles injuries seem to occur in quick-acceleration, jumping sports like football and basketball, and almost always end the season's competition for the athlete.
NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Injection treatment for painful Achilles tendons in adults

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Painful and stiff Achilles tendons are common overuse injuries in people undertaking sports, such as running, but also occur for other reasons in inactive people. The underlying cause is an imbalance between the damage and repair processes in the tendon. Painful Achilles tendons are often disabling and can take a long time to get better. Many treatments exist for this condition and this review set out to find out whether treatment with an injection, with a variety of agents, decreases pain and allows people to return to their previous activities.

Platelet‐rich therapies for musculoskeletal soft tissue injuries

Muscle, ligament and tendon injuries frequently occur during activities such as sports, and may be due to tissue degeneration. These injuries are more frequent in particular parts of the body, such as the tendons located in the shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle.

Eccentric exercise protocols for chronic non-insertional Achilles tendinopathy: how much is enough?

Eccentric exercises for the calf muscles have been shown to be effective for chronic non-insertional Achilles tendinopathy (AT). However, the relative effectiveness of various dosages is unknown. A systematic review of randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) was designed to determine whether an optimum dose of eccentric exercises could be recommended. Three selected RCTs showed positive effects of very similar eccentric exercise protocols for chronic non-insertional AT. Owing to insufficient reported compliance data, a conclusion on the relative effectiveness of various compliances was not feasible. According to our review, the relative effectiveness of various dosages of eccentric exercises for AT is still unclear. However, it appears that highly variable compliance rates result in similar positive outcomes; these findings, therefore, highlight the need for further investigations.

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Summaries for consumers

Injection treatment for painful Achilles tendons in adults

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Painful and stiff Achilles tendons are common overuse injuries in people undertaking sports, such as running, but also occur for other reasons in inactive people. The underlying cause is an imbalance between the damage and repair processes in the tendon. Painful Achilles tendons are often disabling and can take a long time to get better. Many treatments exist for this condition and this review set out to find out whether treatment with an injection, with a variety of agents, decreases pain and allows people to return to their previous activities.

Platelet‐rich therapies for musculoskeletal soft tissue injuries

Muscle, ligament and tendon injuries frequently occur during activities such as sports, and may be due to tissue degeneration. These injuries are more frequent in particular parts of the body, such as the tendons located in the shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle.

More about Achilles Tendinitis

Photo of an adult

Also called: Achilles tendonitis

Other terms to know:
Achilles Tendon Injuries, Calcaneal Tendon (Achilles Tendon), Tendinitis

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