The symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis are mild, or sharp, pain or stiffness, in the large tendon that connects the heel bone to the calf muscle. Pain can be localized anywhere between the tendon attachment site, at the heel bone, and the bottom of the muscle belly/tendon junction.
What causes Achilles Tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon commonly associated with overuse and degeneration.
When the Achilles tendon is overly stressed, its fibers can break down (degenerate), creating tiny tears, swelling, and thickening (stiffness). These damaged fibers can calcify (harden) over time and bone spurs can ultimately form where the tendon attaches to the heel bone.
Acute injuries to the Achilles tendon most often result when a person with acute, or chronic, maladapted neuromuscular foot function makes sharp sudden movements with their feet, as they quickly speed up, slow down, or pivot.
Functional problems occur gradually, when everyday activities don’t promote healthy function. Poor foot function – in particular extreme pronation – puts excessive, repetitive, angular (rather than linear), stress onto the Achilles tendon, leading to recurring local inflammation and a buildup of fibrotic/inelastic tissue.
Often, there is no pain or discomfort until the inelasticity builds to the point that the tendon tears (partial tear or complete rupture) with a single excessive movement.