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Heel Tendonitis

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 painful.

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 inflammation.

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.


This web site is intended for your own informational purposes only. No person or entity associated with this web site purports to be engaging in the practice of medicine through this medium. The information you receive is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other health care professional. If you have an illness or medical problem, contact your health care provider.


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