Tendonitis / Achilles tendon rupture


What is tendonitis ?


Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon. Tendons are composed of fibres and join muscles to bones, ensuring joint mobility. Following repeated movements, friction of the tendon against the bone may cause some of the fibres to become worn. Micro-tears affecting these tendon fibres are accompanied by a painful inflammatory reaction. This inflammation may spread to neighbouring structures, such as the synovial sheath surrounding the tendons. Tendonitis can also be caused by repeated micro-trauma (impacts, shocks) to the tendon. The pain of tendonitis is made worse by movements and alleviated by rest.


What is Achilles tendonitis ?


Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon joining the heel to the calf muscles. It is caused by overuse of the Achilles tendon following repeated walking for long periods, intensive running training or the use of footwear unsuitable for the activity being carried out. It is also called "Achilles tenosynovitis" or "Schanz disease".


What is an Achilles tendon rupture ?


An Achilles tendon rupture generally occurs in middle-aged athletes after jumping, stumbling on uneven ground or a straight-leg impact. The tendon tears following excessive dorsiflexion of the foot (towards the tibia). Although less common than Achilles tendonitis, Achilles tendon ruptures are nonetheless promoted by latent untreated tendinopathy.


Orthopaedic treatment


The aim of an orthopaedic solution is to relieve pain (analgesia) and reduce strain on the inflamed Achilles tendon. Raising the heel slightly (heel lift with a thickness of 8 to 10 mm) shortens the distance over which the gastrocnemius muscle works (the muscle that enables us to stand on our tip toes). A good result can be obtained in just a few weeks. However, to prevent recurrences of the problem, in addition to medical treatment and possibly physiotherapy sessions, it is also necessary to consider an adjustment of day-to-day habits and sports activities (excellent hydration, warm-up essential, wearing of appropriate footwear).


Without treatment, the major risk is an Achilles tendon rupture, causing a significant walking disability. The only treatment for this is surgery. Healing is promoted by wearing a heel lift to raise up the heel.






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