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Achilles Tendon Problems (cont.)

Symptoms

Symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy may include:

  • Pain in the back of the heel, in the Achilles tendonClick here to see an illustration. area. Pain may be mild or severe. Swelling may occur.
  • Tenderness in the Achilles tendon area. Tenderness may be more noticeable in the morning.
  • Stiffness that goes away as the tendon warms up with use.
  • Decreased strength and movement, or a feeling of sluggishness in the leg.

Symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture may include:

  • A sudden, sharp pain that feels like a direct hit to the Achilles tendon. There may be a pop when the rupture occurs. This may be followed by swelling and bruising.
  • Heel pain. (It may be severe.)
  • Not being able to go on tiptoe with the hurt leg.

If you have a partial rupture (tear) of the Achilles tendon, you may have near-normal strength and less pain after the initial injury, compared to what you would have after a complete rupture.

What Happens

Achilles tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy starts with repeated small tears in the tendon. These tears may cause no obvious symptoms. Or they may cause mild to severe pain during movement. As the tearing continues, the leg may weaken and the tendon pain may become constant. Abnormal growths (nodules) may form in the tendon, and it may thicken.

Without rest and treatment of Achilles tendinopathy, you may develop long-lasting (chronic) pain.

Achilles tendon tear or rupture

An Achilles tendon can partially tear or completely tear (rupture)Click here to see an illustration.. A tear usually occurs in the tendon about 1.5 in. (3.8 cm) to 2.5 in. (6.4 cm) above where it attaches to the heel bone. Some doctors believe that this area is most likely to tear or rupture because of a limited blood supply.

If you don't treat an Achilles rupture, you will feel weakness in your first steps when you walk. It may feel like walking in the sand. Over time, walking will become difficult.

Other Achilles tendon problems

Other conditions can affect the Achilles tendon area alone or along with tendinosis. These other conditions are caused by inflammation. They include:

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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