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The largest tendon in the human body, the Achilles tendon is connected to the calf muscles and allows feet to flex during walking, running and jumping. Although the Achilles tendon can withstand great stresses from running and jumping, it is also prone to tendonosis, a condition associated with overuse and degeneration.
Achilles tendonosis is typically not related to a specific injury. The problem results from repetitive stress to the tendon. This often happens when we push our bodies to do too much, too soon, but other factors can make it more likely to develop tendonosis, too. These factors include:
Many changes can be seen when the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed. Most of the time, there is no trauma or injury, but rather a slow progression of pain. Common symptoms of Achilles tendonosis include:
If you have experienced a sudden “pop” in the back of your calf or heel, you may have ruptured (torn) your Achilles tendon. See your doctor immediately if you think you may have torn your tendon.
To diagnose Achilles tendonosis, a thorough medical history is taken and an examination is performed. Patients will usually have pain right on the tendon or at the back of the heel. They may also have swelling and thickening of the tendon. X-rays may be taken to see if there are any bone spurs. A MRI or ultrasound may also be performed to further evaluate how much of the tendon is affected and to look for any tears.
Our foot and ankle doctors treat Achilles tendon injuries using cutting-edge techniques, such as radiofrequency coblation, platelet rich plasma injections and minimal incision surgery. These types of procedures expedite the healing process and allow patients to resume regular activities faster than conventional surgery options. In severe cases, the surgeon may recommend surgery to reattach a torn Achilles tendon or to remove the bone spur. Our foot and ankle surgeons will evaluate each patient’s medical history and customize a treatment plan to suit their individual needs.