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Achilles Tendon Problems

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What Happens

Achilles tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy starts with repeated small tears in the tendon. These tears may cause no obvious symptoms. Or they may cause mild to severe pain during movement. As the tearing continues, the leg may weaken and the tendon pain may become constant. Abnormal growths (nodules) may form in the tendon, and it may thicken.

Without rest and treatment of Achilles tendinopathy, you may develop long-lasting (chronic) pain.

Achilles tendon tear or rupture

An Achilles tendon can partially tear or completely tear (rupture) camera.gif. A tear usually occurs in the tendon about 1.5 in. (3.8 cm) to 2.5 in. (6.4 cm) above where it attaches to the heel bone. Some doctors believe that this area is most likely to tear or rupture because of a limited blood supply.

If you don't treat an Achilles rupture, you will feel weakness in your first steps when you walk. It may feel like walking in the sand. Over time, walking will become difficult.

Other Achilles tendon problems

Other conditions can affect the Achilles tendon area alone or along with tendinosis. These other conditions are caused by inflammation. They include:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 03, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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