Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options for Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is a condition that causes pain along the back of the leg near the heel. This pain is caused by the inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which is the largest tendon in the body. This tendon attaches your calf muscle to your heel bone. You use it when you run, jump, and walk. Here is more information about Achilles tendonitis and ways to treat it.


Achilles tendonitis is not the result of a specific injury. It happens when the tendon becomes stressed over time, as it is repeatedly used. Pushing your body to do too much can trigger injury. For example, a sudden increase in the amount or intensity of exercise without giving your body time to adjust can lead to tendonitis. Tight calf muscles during exercise can also put more stress on the Achilles tendon. Extra bone growth at your heel can rub against the tendon and also trigger pain.


Common symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include severe pain the day after exercising, swelling during and after exercise, pain and stiffness along the tendon in the morning, and pain along the back of the heel. If there is a sudden “pop” at the back of your heel or calf, this could mean that you have torn your Achilles tendon. This requires immediate medical assistance.

Treatment Options

It takes a few months for symptoms to subside with nonsurgical treatment options; however, they will provide pain relief. The first step in reducing your pain is to reduce or cease activities that have aggravated the tendon. If you exercise at high-impact, switch to low-impact activities to reduce stress around your heel and calf. Ice your Achilles tendon for up to 20 minutes at a time as needed throughout the day. You can also take ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce the pain and swelling. Consider safe exercises to strengthen the calf muscle and reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.

If the pain persists for longer than six months, consider surgical treatment. Gramercy Park Podiatry has highly trained podiatrists who specialize in treating foot and ankle injuries. Our podiatrists perform foot, hammertoe, and bunion surgery, among other procedures.