About Achilles Tendinopathy
There are two forms of achilles tendinopathy, noninsertional and insertional. Noninsertional achilles tendonitis, the fibers in the middle portion of the tendon have begun to break down and degenerate, causing small tears that lead to swelling and thickening of the tendon. Tendinitis of the middle portion of the tendon more commonly affects younger, active people. Insertional tendonitis involves the lower portion of the heel, where the tendon attaches (inserts) to the bone. Bone spurs often form with insertional achilles tendinitis. Insertional tendinitis can occur at any time, even in patients who are not active. In both noninsertional and insertional tendinitis, damaged tendons can calcify (harden).
Achilles tendinitis is typically not related to a specific injury. The problem results from repetitive stress to the tendon. This often happens when we push our bodies to do too much, too soon, but other factors can make it more likely to develop tendinitis, including
- Sudden increase in the amount or intensity of exercise activity—for example, increasing the distance you run every day by a few miles without giving your body a chance to adjust to the new distance
- Tight calf muscles: Having tight calf muscles and suddenly starting an aggressive exercise program can put extra stress on the Achilles tendon
- Bone Spur: Extra bone growth where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone can rub against the tendon and cause pain
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Symptoms of Achilles Tendonopathy
Symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy include pain along the back of the lower leg by the Achilles tendon, loss of performance and function, and thickening of the tendon, which can often be felt.
Treatment for Achilles Tendonopathy
There is some evidence that dry needling the tendon alone can stimulate blood flow and healing. A procedure called Tenex can be done under ultrasound as well which uses a small oscillating needle to debride (suck out) the damaged parts of the tendon. Another treatment option includes Regenexx platelet rich plasma (PRP), platelet lysate, or bone marrow concentrate with stem cells to reduce pain and improve healing.
If you suffer from symptoms of achilles tendinopathy, schedule a consultation with our interventional pain specialists at Ospina Medical in Midtown Manhattan today. We will create an individualized treatment plan to help treat your pain, improve your function and get you back to living your life.
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