The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle at the heel bone. Achilles tendinopathy is pain in this tendon.
The exact cause is not known. It is thought to be from overuse from:
This problem is more common in men and older adults. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Symptoms of tendinopathy may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will be asked about the activities that you do. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on your lower leg. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
If the diagnosis is unclear, images may be taken. This can be done with
Treatment depends on the tendon and how badly it is damaged. Options are:
Some people may need surgery when other methods do not help.
This problem may be prevented by:
American College of Sports Medicine
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Achilles tendinitis. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00147. Updated June 2010. Accessed July 29, 2020.
Achilles tendinopathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/achilles-tendinopathy. Updated April 30, 2018. Accessed July 29, 2020.
Achilles tendon disorders. Foot Health Facts—American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.foothealthfacts.org/footankleinfo/achilles-tendon.htm. Accessed July 29, 2020.
Derry S, Moore RA, Gaskell H, McIntyre M, Wiffen PJ. Topical NSAIDS for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Syst Rev. 2015;(6):CD007402.
Maffulli N, Via AG, et al. Chronic Achilles Tendon Disorders: Tendinopathy and Chronic Rupture. Clin Sports Med. 2015 Oct;34(4):607-624.
McCormack JR, Underwood FB, Slaven EJ. Eccentric exercise versus eccentric exercise and soft tissue treatment (Astym) in the management of insertional Achilles Tendinopathy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Sports Health.2016;8(3):230-237.
Zwiers R, Wiegerinck JI, van Dijk CN. Treatment of midportion Achilles tendinopathy: an evidence-based overview. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2016;24(7):2103-2111.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT Last Updated: 3/10/2021