This is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone. Achilles tendinitis can be a problem for many people, especially those who exercise frequently. Achilles tendonitis often occurs in:
- Runners who have recently increased the intensity or duration of their exercise
- Middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball, only on the weekends
- Runners who wear worn-out shoes
- Runners who run on hilly terrain
- People with psoriasis or high blood pressure
- Individuals who are obese
More serious cases of Achilles tendinitis can lead to tendon tears (ruptures) that may require surgical repair. The pain associated with Achilles tendinitis typically begins as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after running or other sports activity. Episodes of more severe pain may occur after prolonged running, stair climbing, or sprinting.
Treatments for Achilles tendinitis include strengthening exercises, over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, icing, and compression. Surgery is sometimes needed in more severe cases.