The Achilles tendon attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone. Jumping, climbing and strenuous exercise can strain the tendon and calf muscle, which can cause the type of inflammation known as tendinitis. This injury can be mild enough that it can be treated by over-the-counter medications or so severe that it must be repaired surgically. Chronic tendinitis can cause microscopic tears in the muscle which can weaken the tendon and increase the risk for tear or rupture.
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. You might also experience tenderness or stiffness, especially in the morning, which usually improves with mild activity.
Treating this condition involves rest, stretching exercises and over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If necessary, the doctor may order a steroid injection to reduce chronic tendon inflammation or a series of platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections to stimulate healing.