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Understanding Your Diagnosis Of Achilles Tendonitis

Posted Feb 11 2010 11:53pm


Achilles Tendonitis occurs in approximately 11% of runners and is usually a result of overusenot training properly or working on hard surfaces or up hill too much.

Achilles tendonitis is slow to heel because the Achilles tendon has a normally poor blood supply which slow the healing process.

How do you know if you have Achilles Tendonitis?

You may suspect that you have Achilles tendonitis is you experience pain while doing exercise that may go away when you rest for long periods of time. Your Achilles tendon may swell and the skin over it becomes reddened. You may feel a creaking when you press your finger to the tendon or when you move your foot.

If you experience acute Achilles tendonitis and it is not treated properly you may then go on to have chronic Achilles tendonitis. It is difficult to treat chronic Achilles tendonitisespecially in older individuals.

Symptoms for acute tendonitis and Achilles tendonitis are similar. The symptoms are pain and stiffness in the Achilles tendon and this pain is worse in the morning when you first wake. You may feel lumps in the Achilles tendon. You may feel pain in the Achilles tendon area when you walk up stairs or climb a hill. The difference between acute tendonitis and chronic tendonitis is that chronic tendonitis is more of a long-term problem.

The diagnosis is based on the patient historya physical examination and imaging testswhich may include x-rayand ultrasound. The patient history includes how long the individual has experienced pain or weakness in the lower leg. The history of recreational activityand any changes in the recent activity level and also what type of footwear you are using and if you had proper training. The training and playing surface will also be assessed.

The physical examination will include the palpation of the affected areafeeling with the fingers for tendernessswellinglumps or nodulesany signs of warmthor a decrease in mass (atrophy of muscles). The doctor will measure the active and passive range of motion of the joints such as your kneesanklesand feet in order to determine the resting alignment of the ankles and your feet.

A Thompson test may be performed in order to see if there is a rupture of the Achilles tendon. To perform this test the individual lies on a flat surface with knees bent and the doctor squeezes the back of the lower calf. If the tendon is intact even partially so the foot will flex. If the tendon has ruptured the foot will not flex.

Imaging tests are performed to aid in the diagnosis. An x-rayultrasoundand a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may be performed. The x-ray will show if there is any soft tissue swelling or heel bone calcifications (calcium deposits) or even fractures in the heel bone.

An ultrasound may be used in order to see if there is any thickening of the Achilles tendon.

A tendon rupture can also be detected by MRI scan. Degenerative tendon changes can also be discovered by the MRI scan.

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