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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

Achilles Tendonitis/Tendonopathy

The achilles tendon connects the calf musculature (gastrocnemius and soleus) to the heel (calcaneus). Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of this tendon and/or the tissues surrounding the tendon. This condition is usually a result of repetitive stress being placed on the tendon. 


Signs and Symptoms

  • Tenderness 1-2 inches above the insertion of the achilles tendon into the heel
  • Swelling or thickening of the tendon may or may not be present
  • Pain or stiffness may be present when one gets out of bed in the morning
  • Pain or stiffness at the beginning of activity and decreasing during activity; pain may be constant in advanced cases


  • Sudden increases in activities or training (running mileage)
  • An excessive amount of hill running or excessive sprint workouts
  • Running shoes with poor flexibility or a stiff heel counter
  • Running on uneven or banked surfaces
  • Tight calf or hamstring muscles
  • Biomechanical problems including excessive pronation, cavus foot (high arch) and/or tibia vara (bowlegs)


  • Modify activity; decrease running mileage, hill workouts and speed workouts
  • Apply moist heat, before activity
  • Ice the tender area 15-20 minutes after activity
  • Light calf and hamstring stretching
  • Orthotics for biomechanical problems, heel lift or new shoes
  • Anti-inflammatory medication as prescribed by a physician

Surface anatomy of the achilles tendon on a right leg