What is the Achilles tendon?
The Achilles tendon, sometimes called the “heel cord,” is a thick band of tissue that connects your calf muscle to your heel. This tendon plays an essential role in walking, by lifting your heel off the ground, and helps you stand-up on tiptoes.
What are common Achilles tendon injuries?
Although the Achilles is a strong tendon, repetitive stress or overstretching can lead to injury. Dr. Kleis treats the full spectrum of Achilles tendon injuries:
Peritendinitis is the earliest stage of tendonitis and typically involves localized pain during or after an activity.
Irritation and inflammation in your Achilles tendon mean you have tendonitis. Achilles tendonitis causes pain and may lead to a bone spur on the back of your heel bone. This short-lived injury usually heals completely within a few months.
Without treatment, Achilles tendonitis may progress into tendinosis, which involves tendon degeneration that may lead to a torn or ruptured Achilles tendon.
Achilles tendonitis is easiest to treat in the early stages, so it’s important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kleis as soon as you experience pain or swelling in the back of your heel.
What causes Achilles tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis is considered an overuse injury, so it’s more likely to result from an increase in repetitive stress on the Achilles tendon than from a sudden accident.
You are more likely to develop Achilles tendonitis if you have a physical occupation, such as forestry, or participate in sports or physical activities without proper conditioning.
How do you diagnose and treat Achilles tendon injuries?
First, Dr. Kleis performs a complete physical exam and reviews your medical history. He may take an X-ray or other imaging tests to evaluate the severity of the condition and rule out other possible injuries.
Once he confirms a diagnosis of Achilles tendonitis, Dr. Kleis creates a personalized treatment plan. Depending on your the specifics of your case, treatment may include:
- Dr. Kleis utilizes the EPAT acoustic wave treatment and low level laser therapy for tendonitis. He is one of the only doctors in southern California to offer both treatments. These treatments are used by many professional sports teams and have been clinically proven to be some of the most effective treatments for Achille's tendonitis. Rarely is surgery needed when these two treatments are used.
- Immobilization with a walking boot
- Custom orthotic devices
- Splints to stretch the Achilles tendon worn at night
- Oral anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy exercises to strengthen and stretch the Achilles tendon
If you suspect you have an Achilles tendon injury, call or book an appointment with Dr. Kleis online today.