3 Common Achilles Tendon Conditions (And How to Avoid Them)

The Achilles tendon, which stabilizes your foot and ankle by connecting your calf muscle and heel, can become injured in a variety of ways. These injuries can cause pain, discomfort, and weakness in your ankle, interfering significantly with your daily activities. However, by taking certain precautions to preserve the well-being of your Achilles tendon, you may be able to prevent or reduce your risk of injury.

Tendinitis causes swelling and inflammation in your tendons, resulting in pain and instability while walking. Tendinitis often occurs as a result of overuse of your tendons; in many cases, sports are the primary culprits.

Maintaining your flexibility through stretching or other light warm-ups prior to vigorous physical activity can help prevent tendinitis, but it’s also important to avoid repetitive motions that can lead to overuse injuries as much as possible.

Tendinosis is sometimes confused for tendinitis, as both of these conditions can occur as a result of overuse injuries. Unlike tendinitis, however, tendinosis is not an inflammatory condition; it involves degeneration of the collagen in your tendons that worsens over time, wearing down the tendon and causing its fibers to become thick and hard.

Similarly to tendinitis, tendinosis is best avoided by incorporating warm-up stretches into your physical activities and avoiding overuse of your leg muscles.

An Achilles tendon rupture occurs much more suddenly than tendinitis or tendinosis as the stress placed on your tendon is abruptly increased. This can happen if you trip, fall, or increase the intensity of your physical activities to quickly, potentially resulting in severe pain and swelling near the heel as well as weakness while walking.

Warm-up stretches can be helpful for avoiding these injuries, but calf-strengthening exercises, varied workouts, slow increases in activity intensity, and appropriate footwear are all essential for protecting your Achilles tendon, as well.

If you experience pain, discomfort, or weakness in your heel or ankle, expert podiatric treatment is available at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Podiatry Department. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-6712.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.