What is achillodynia?

Achillodynia is an acute pain due to inflammation of the Achilles tendon and the lubricating tissues surrounding the tendon. The clinical picture ranges from irritation to inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Sometimes the tendon or bursa can even rupture.


The calf muscle consists of three sections that join in the lower part of the calf to form the Achilles tendon, which inserts into the calcaneus. The Achilles tendon is about 1.5 cm long and transmits the calf muscle power to the bone – in particular to the foot, i.e,. the heel. The tendon can typically withstand a force equal to eight times your own body weight when running, jumping, landing etc.

Signs & Symptoms of Achillodynia

The classic symptoms of achillodynia are severe pain, swelling and extreme sensitivity when pressure is applied. Initially these symptoms occur when beginning exercise and usually disappear once you have warmed up. The pain is typically not felt at the heel, but a little above it. This is where the body defends itself against overuse by increasing the volume of the weakened connective tissues. But despite this thickening, the tendon is not protected against overuse any better than before. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

To avoid suffering a rupture of the Achilles tendon, it is important to heed the body's warning signals. The overworked tendon needs a rest.

Causes & Risk Factors of Achillodynia

Symptoms occur most often when the tendon is overworked or generally weak.

As the most common runner's injury, achillodynia usually starts after individuals have trained too hard and overworked the tendon. Unusual stresses, such as running on uneven ground can also play a role. But runners and other athletes are not the only people to suffer Achilles tendon symptoms. Being overweight can also put too much strain on Achilles' tendons.

Other causes can be from orthopedic foot deformities – such as a valgus foot – or even wearing the wrong footwear. Other factors include the taking of certain antibiotics and smoking – this can make the tendons more susceptible and weaker.

How can symptoms of the Achilles tendon be treated?

To enable the tendon to heal quickly, it is important to relieve any stresses and strains. You can do this by wearing supports. Stretching and strengthening exercises are also helpful.


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