Achilles Tendonitis/Tendonopathy

UW Health's Sports Medicine doctors treat a wide range of common athletic injuries, including achilles tendonitis/tendonopathy and injuries to the achilles tendon.


About the Achilles Tendon


The achilles tendon connects the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) to the heel bone (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 area where the Achilles tendon and heel bone meet
  • Swelling or thickening of the Achilles tendon may or may not be present
  • Pain or stiffness when getting 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, especially with duration, frequency and intensity
  • An excessive amount of hill running or 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 by decreasing 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
  • Platelet Rich Plasma injections may be a treatment option for those suffering from this condition chronically
  • If symptoms persist, be wary of high impact activities that may increase the chance of rupturing the tendon