Tendon Injury2016-10-12T12:39:57-04:00

Tendon Injury and Achilles Tears


What are Tendon Injuries and Achilles Tears ?

Tendons are the tough fibers that connect muscle to bone. The Achilles tendon is a large tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Most tendon injuries occur near joints, such as the shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle. A tendon injury may seem to happen suddenly, but usually it is the result of many micro tears to the tendon that have happened over time. Tendinitis means “inflammation of the tendon.” The term tendinopathy is used frequently today to include both inflammation and microtears. For many years most tendon problems were called “tendinitis.” Many doctors still use this familiar word to describe a tendon injury.

Symptoms of Tendon Injury

Tendinopathy usually causes pain, stiffness and loss of strength in the affected area. Some symptoms are common to tendon injuries:

  • Pain aggravated by use of the affected tendon.
  • Increased pain and stiffness during the night or when you get up in the morning.
  • The area may be tender, red, warm or swollen if there is inflammation.
  • You may notice a “crunchy” sound or feeling when you use the tendon.

Causes of a Tendon Injury

Tendon injuries are most often the result of gradual wear and tear to the tendon from overuse or aging. Anyone can have a tendon injury. People who repeat motions in their jobs, sports, or daily activities are more likely to damage a tendon. A tendon injury can happen gradually or suddenly. You are more likely to have a sudden injury if the tendon has been weakened over time.

Treatment of Tendon Injury

Treatment will vary depending on the individual’s specific injury. At Sideline Orthopedics, we will examine the injured tendon and promptly recommend the treatment that will benefit you most. The first goal in treatment of a tendon injury is controlling the symptoms. Usually, the most debilitating symptom is pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can be used, such as ibuprofen, to relieve the discomfort and reduce inflammation.

Therapeutic rehabilitation goals include decreasing pain and educating the patient in symptom-control techniques such as rest, ice and proper body mechanics. This includes ergonomic training, such as workstation design and adaptive aids and techniques. Splinting is usually indicated to rest the tendon/muscle unit  and may be designed specifically for the patient’s lifestyle. The splinting material may be rigid; then progress to semi-rigid, soft support; and then incorporate flexible taping such as kinesiotaping. Modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation can also utilized and incorporated into the rehabilitation program.

Treatment for Achilles Tear

Achilles tendon tears are generally treated surgically in active patients. Surgery can offer a great return in strength, less time immobilized and less time on crutches. Less active patients with significant health issues can be treated non operatively.

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