Heel Tendonitis is inflammation, irritation, and swelling of the Achilles tendon (the
tendon that connects the muscles of the calf to the heel).
What causes Heel Tendonitis
There are two large muscles in the calf, the gastrocnemius and
soleus. These muscles generate the power for pushing off with the foot or going up on the
toes. The large Achilles tendon connects these muscles to the heel.
These are important muscles for walking. This tendon can become inflamed, most commonly
as a result of overuse or arthritis, although inflammation can also be associated with
trauma and infection.
Tendonitis due to overuse is most common in younger individuals and can occur in
walkers, runners, or other athletes, especially in sports like basketball that involve
jumping. Jumping places a large amount of stress on the Heel tendon.
Tendonitis from arthritis is more common in the middle aged and elderly population.
Arthritis often causes extra bony growths around joints, and if this occurs around the
heel where the Heel tendon attaches to the heel bone, the tendon can become inflamed and
Treatment of Heel Tendonitis
The initial treatment for Heel Tendonitis is usually
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin and ibuprofen, and physical
therapy to stretch the muscle-tendon unit and strengthen the muscles of the calf. In
addition, any activity that aggravates the symptoms needs to be limited. Occasionally,
casting is used to immobilize the heel and allow the inflammation to quiet down.
Functional braces or boots have also been used to limit ankle motion and help with
If conservative treatment fails to improve symptoms, surgery may become necessary to
remove inflamed tissue from around the tendon and to remove any part of the tendon that
has become abnormal.