Achilles Tendinitis: Preparing for Your Doctor’s Appointment

The injury of the Achilles tendon secondary to overuse is called Achilles tendinitis.

The condition is prevalent among runners who drastically increase the intensity and duration of their runs and among middle-aged individuals who participate in sports only on the weekends.

In majority of the cases, the condition often responds to simple homecare remedies.

However, severe Achilles tendinitis can sometimes result to tendon ruptures or tears.

In similar scenarios, surgical repair will be required.

Common Symptoms

Oftentimes, a mild ache in the back of the leg and the heel might signal Achilles tendinitis.

The pain is often more noticeable after engaging in running and other sports activities.

Prolonged sprinting, running, and stair climbing may often result to more severe pain.

Stiffness or tenderness especially in the mornings may also be experienced.

However, it will often improve after mild activity.

Risk Factors

Several risk factors have been known to increase one’s risk of developing the condition.

Some of the risk factors include:

  • Sex
  • Medical Conditions
  • Age
  • Medications
  • Physical Problems
  • Training choices

If pain around the Achilles tendon is persistent, visiting the doctor is recommended.

If the pain or disability is severe, seeking immediate medical attention is necessary as there is a huge possibility the tendon might be torn or ruptured.

Appointment Preparation

Once the symptoms have been checked, patients might be referred to other experts depending on the condition’s severity.

If there are no tears or ruptures, the patient will be referred to a doctor that specializes in physical or rehabilitative medicine (physiatrist).

However, if the Achilles tendon has a tear or rupture, the patient will be referred to an orthopedic surgeon.

Questions will be asked by the doctor to diagnose the condition accurately.

To get your preparation off to a good start, ensure you have a ready answer to the following questions the doctor will likely ask:

  • Did the pain start suddenly or gradually?
  • Do the symptoms become more severe after you perform certain activities?
  • Is the pain more severe at certain times?
  • What type of footwear do you usually wear when exercising?
  • Are you taking any medications or supplements on a regular basis?

It is also very likely that the doctor will ask about symptoms and factors that may have contributed to the condition so it is important to also have a ready answer to the following:

  • Where is the pain’s exact location?
  • Does resting reduce the pain?
  • What is your normal exercise routine like?
  • Have you made sudden changes to your exercise routine?
  • Did you try a new sport lately?
  • What medications have you taken to ease the pain?

During the physical exam, the doctor will press the affected area to determine that pain’s exact location.

The doctor will also check for signs of tenderness and swelling.

The reflexes, alignment, flexibility, and motion range of both the foot and the ankle will also be checked.

When needed, the following tests will be required to assess the condition further:

  • X-rays – since X-rays will not be able to visualize soft tissues such as the tendons, they will be used to rule out other possible conditions that might manifest similar symptoms.
  • Ultrasound – this device uses sound waves to visualize soft tissues such as the tendons. Ultrasounds are also capable of producing real-time images of the Achilles tendon in motion. To check the blood flow around the tendon, a color-Doppler ultrasound is used.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – Using radio waves and a strong magnet, MRI machines can produce highly detailed images of the Achilles tendon.


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