What Causes Achilles Tendonitis?

What Causes Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis is a common condition that occurs when the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, becomes inflamed. This band of connective tissue helps you lift your foot off the ground to walk, run, jump, and more. Your Achilles tendon is incredibly strong and can support approximately 4x your body weight. But your Achilles tendon can also be extremely susceptible to injury. Injury to this tendon can be painful and impair movement and mobility, limiting your ability to walk or engage in physical activity. In some cases, Achilles tendonitis can easily be treated with at-home care and rest, but in more serious cases, the tendon itself can rupture and require surgical intervention to repair. Understanding the causes of Achilles tendonitis is key to preventing and treating this condition.

Common Causes Achilles Tendonitis

  1. Overuse and Repetitive Stress
    One of the most common causes of Achilles tendonitis is overuse and repetitive stress. This occurs when the Achilles tendon is subjected to excessive stress or strain, such as during high-intensity activities like running, jumping, or playing sports. The stress causes the Achilles to become inflamed and painful. Overuse and repetitive stress can also cause microtears in the tendon, which can further contribute to inflammation and pain.
  2. Tight Calf Muscles
    When the calf muscles are tight, they can place increased stress on the Achilles tendon. This can cause the tendon to become inflamed and painful. Tight calf muscles can be caused by insufficient stretching, poor posture, or an imbalance in the strength of the leg muscles. People who wear high heels regularly or who engage in activities that require repetitive flexion of the foot, such as ballet, may be more prone to developing tight calf muscles and, as a result, Achilles tendonitis.
  3. Improper Footwear
    Improper footwear can lead to the development of Achilles tendonitis. Shoes that do not provide proper support or that are too tight can cause the Achilles tendon to become inflamed and painful. People who wear shoes with high heels or shoes with inadequate arch support are especially prone to developing Achilles tendonitis. It is important to wear shoes that fit properly and provide adequate support, especially if you engage in activities that place stress on the Achilles tendon.
  4. Aging and Degeneration
    As we age, the Achilles tendon begins to degenerate, making it more prone to inflammation and injury. This is due to a number of factors, including a decrease in blood supply to the tendon and a decrease in the production of collagen, the protein that gives the tendon its strength and elasticity. People who are over the age of 30 are more prone to developing Achilles tendonitis due to age-related degeneration of the tendon. It is important for older adults to take extra care when engaging in activities that place stress on the Achilles tendon, and to consult with a physician if they experience pain or discomfort in the area.

Preventing Achilles Tendonitis
While there is no surefire way to prevent Achilles tendonitis, there are ways to reduce your risk of developing this condition or requiring further inetrventions.

  • Increase Your Activity Level Gradually
  • Take the Time to Stretch Before Exercising
  • Build Up Your Calf Muscles
  • Cross-Train
  • Choose the Right Footwear
  • Try Custom Orthotic

To understand your treatment options for Achilles tendonitis,
read How Does A Podiatrist Diagnose And Treat Achilles Tendonitis?.


Achilles Tendonitis Prevention And Treatment At To Healthy Feet Podiatry

Achilles tendonitis is a common condition that can be caused by a variety of factors, including overuse, tight calf muscles, improper footwear, sudden increases in activity, and aging. Understanding the causes of Achilles tendonitis is the key to prevention, but if you do develop this condition, effective treatments are available.

Our team of podiatrists at To Healthy Feet can expertly diagnose your Achilles tendonitis and recommend treatments and preventative measures. We provide accurate diagnosis and comprehensive foot and ankle care, with the tools and technologies needed to provide a variety of specially tailored treatment options at each of our Manhattan podiatry clinics. If you are experiencing pain due to Achilles tendonitis, call To Healthy Feet Podiatry at 917-398-3668 or fill out the contact form to book your appointment at our Upper East Side, Times Square, Midtown Grand Central, or Downtown Manhattan locations today.


Q: What are the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis?
A: The major symptom of Achilles tendonitis is pain in the heel and along the length of your tendon when either running or walking. The Achilles tendon might be tender to touch as well.

Q: What happens if Achilles tendonitis goes untreated?
A: If left untreated, Achilles tendonitis can cause tears within the tendon. These tears can cause a rupture. If your tendon ruptures, then you will require serious medical intervention, which can include surgery.

Q: What is a quick and easy way to stretch my Achilles tendon?
A: Grab a resistance band (or even a stretchy t-shirt). Place the band or shirt around the ball of your foot. Pull the two ends of the band or shirt towards you until you feel a nice stretch in the back of your leg. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and relax for 10 seconds. Repeat this 5-10 times for both legs.

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