Achilles Tendinitis: Symptoms and Treatment [Video]
Ask the Expert: Foot and Ankle Video Series
About the video: What are the symptoms and treatment of Achilles tendinitis?
Summit Orthopedics’ experts Michael Castro, D.O. and Tracy Rupke, M.D. discuss the symptoms and treatments options of Achilles tendinitis.
Meet Dr. Michael Castro
Dr. Castro’s approach: “I view the foot and ankle as a ‘perfect machine’ that is taken for granted…when it breaks down the effects can be profound. My focus and the focus of my team is to help get you back on your feet doing what you love.”
Dr. Castro’s background: After graduating from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, Dr. Castro earned his medical degree at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. His residency took place at Michigan State University/Mount Clemens General Hospital in Mount Clemens, Michigan, and he went on to complete two fellowships: the Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Fellowship at Portland Foot and Ankle Center in South Portland, Maine, and then an AO/ASIF Fellowship in Bellinzona, Switzerland.
Meet Dr. Tracy Rupke
Dr. Rupke’s approach: “I am dedicated to providing the best care possible for my patients. I love running and understand every patient’s desire to return to their own life and activities.”
Dr. Rupke’s background: Much of Dr. Rupke’s training and education took place in Ontario, Canada. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph, earned her medical degree at Queen’s University in Kingston, and underwent residency training at the University of Ottawa. There she also completed a Sports Medicine fellowship, and she went on to train in the University of Washington’s Foot and Ankle Surgery fellowship program at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington.
Summit Orthopedics offers personalized foot and ankle expertise
Our fellowship-trained foot and ankle physicians understand that your mobility depends on the health of your feet and ankles. If you have suffered an injury or are experiencing symptoms that make walking painful, our team of foot and ankle specialists can help with conservative treatment, seasoned surgical teams, and expert rehabilitation support. Summit Orthopedics specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely get you back on your feet and on your way.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
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Achilles tendinitis can be a very debilitating condition. So, that’s when there’s a lot of strain on the Achilles tendon and the response by the surrounding tissue, or the sleeve that the Achilles tendon lives in, produces a lot of fluid because of the irritation of the tendon. So, the sleeve is producing fluid to protect the tendon, but in doing so, increases the pressure in the sleeve and pain. And that increased pressure can also cause damage or injury to the Achilles itself. Like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis also has a very close relationship with the tension being generated by the calf muscles. That’s to say that if your calf is tight, then every step you take you’re increasing the tension on the Achilles tendon. So, Achilles tendinitis is painful with activity. It’s painful when you first get up out of bed with your first few steps. It’s painful when you get up from a seated position. The treatment is initially really focused on trying to take a little bit of the tension off of the Achilles tendon. So I usually start with simple things like using a heel lift in your shoe and maybe even a walking boot if it’s really sore. And then once the pain has decreased, sometimes then we’ll start some physical therapy for some stretching. But I do find that sometimes a lot or too much stretching while it’s really sore can actually aggravate the problem a little bit. But ultimately, that’s what’s needed is to gradually stretch the Achilles tendon out. There are sometimes some injection-type procedures that can be useful for Achilles tendon problems, and those are often done under ultrasound guidance. There is sometimes a role for surgical intervention for Achilles problems, but really only after a very long period of conservative treatment, again because a lot of these will resolve with appropriate treatments, and the surgery is not without its own problems. It’s a lengthy recovery, and obviously there’s always some risk involved with that. So, generally we start with nonoperative treatment and then only progress to surgery if things really aren’t improving.
Your heel pain could flag a heel fracture requiring expert evaluation and treatment.
Meet the Expert: Doctor Bio Video Series
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