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Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Achilles tendonitis produces pain at the back of the heel and ankle; it is a common sporting injury.

What is Achilles tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis occurs when the Achilles tendon becomes irritated and inflamed. Tendons are strong fibrous bands of tissue that connect muscle to bone, the Achilles tendon connects the heel bone to the calf muscles at the back of the leg; it is the strongest tendon in the body.

What causes Achilles tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis occurs when the tendon has been subjected to either repetitive or excessive stress. Achilles tendonitis is most often observed in athletes and those who participate in sports, it is therefore referred to as a sporting or overuse injury. The main underlying cause of Achilles tendonitis is over-pronation. Over-pronation describes a movement of the foot whereby the arch collapses, giving the foot a 'rolled in' and flattened appearance. When the foot rolls in it places a lot of stress onto the Achilles tendon.

Other causes of Achilles tendonitis include:
  • Wearing high heeled shoes
  • Being overweight
  • Not stretching and warming up appropriately
  • Overuse
  • Incorrect footwear
  • Tight calf muscles
What are the signs and symptoms of Achilles tendonitis?
The signs and symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:
  • Pain at the back of the heel, approximately 2 ' 4cm above the tendons attachment at the heel
  • Pain and stiffness in the Achilles tendon that comes on gradually and gets worse. The pain is typically worse in the morning (upon getting out of bed) and after periods of activity
  • Swelling at the back of the heel at the site of the Achilles
  • Cracking and creaking of the Achilles tendon
If you are experiencing any of the above signs or symptoms please visit for an assessment.

How is Achilles tendonitis diagnosed?

One of our podiatrists here at will be able to diagnose Achilles tendonitis based on:
  • A history
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Examination and palpation of the Achilles tendon
Often Achilles tendonitis occurs after activity levels have suddenly increased.

Benefits of Podiatry for Achilles tendonitis

Treatment with us at will benefit you if you have Achilles tendonitis by:
  • Reducing pain and inflammation
  • Improving gait
  • Preventing future injury
  • Offloading the Achilles
  • Reducing tightness in the calf muscles
  • Improving the mechanics of your leg and foot
The pain experienced when you have Achilles tendonitis is caused by inflammation, which can be attributed to poor lower limb mechanics. Benefits are achieved by reducing inflammation, and therefore pain. Inflammation is reduced a number of ways, for example, by off-loading the Achilles tendon, which also gives the tendon time to recover. Foot function and muscle tightness will then be improved, and a number of treatment options may be employed to do this, for example, soft tissue work, exercises, and orthoses. By improving foot and lower limb mechanics the risk of further injury is reduced.

What would podiatry for Achilles tendonitis involve?

Podiatry for Achilles tendonitis would begin firstly with a thorough history taking, which along with the signs and symptoms, and an examination of the Achilles tendon, will lead the podiatrist to a diagnosis. If Achilles tendonitis is confirmed, treatment will aim to reduce any pain and inflammation, as well as to reduce excessive stress on the Achilles tendon. The following treatment options may be recommended for Achilles tendonitis: If you suspect that you have Achilles tendonitis it is important that you have it assessed and treated sooner rather than later, this is to prevent Achilles tendonosis developing. Achilles tendonosis is degeneration of the Achilles tendon. If you have Achilles tendonosis the risk of tendon rupture is dramatically increased.


Achilles tendonitis refers to inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Achilles tendonitis appears as pain and swelling at the back of the heel and ankle, it is a common condition amongst athletes and sports people. The most common underlying cause of Achilles tendonitis is over-pronation, which causes the arch to collapse and the foot to role in. Over-pronation can place a lot of stress on the Achilles tendon.

It is important to visit a podiatrist if you have Achilles tendonitis. At our podiatrists are experts in the foot and lower limb,they will devise a treatment plan specific to you. The treatment for Achilles tendonitis will aim to reduce any pain and inflammation, as well as to reduce the forces being placed on the Achilles tendon.

It is important not to delay treatment, if Achilles tendonitis is ignored the risk of developing tendonosis (breakdown/degeneration of the tendon) or rupture is increased.

To arrange an assessment with one our podiatrists please email or call 0330 088 4222.

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