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What is the difference between Achilles tendonitis and Achilles tendinopathy?

Achilles tendonitis is an acute injury, something that has happened over a short period of time. Achilles tendinopathy is the degeneration of the tendon over time.

Achilles tendinitis and Achilles tendinopathy are closely linked and often occur together. Both conditions involve inflammation of the Achilles tendon, but tendinopathy is more chronic in nature and can involve a loss of tendon elasticity.

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Achilles tendonitis and Achilles tendinopathy are two different conditions that affect the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body and connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.

What is Achilles tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis is an acute condition where there is inflammation of the Achilles tendon. It is usually caused by overuse of the Achilles tendon when there is a sudden change in training load, duration or intensity. Imagine a runner suddenly introducing hill sprints to their training without the correct build-up or strength work. This loading of the tendon puts it under immense stress and can cause tendonitis.

Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include pain and swelling in the back of the ankle and heel, difficulty bending the foot, and tenderness when the Achilles tendon is touched. Treatment for Achilles tendonitis includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

What is Achilles tendinopathy?

Achilles tendinopathy is a chronic condition where there is degeneration of the Achilles tendon. It is usually caused by overuse of the Achilles tendon, through endurance sports or high-intensity exercise. The overuse can also happen from a change in the mechanics of your gait from incorrect or old footwear, a previous injury or a strength imbalance in the lower limbs.

The main difference between Achilles tendonitis and Achilles tendinopathy is that Achilles tendonitis is an acute condition characterized by inflammation of the Achilles tendon whereas Achilles tendinopathy is a chronic condition characterized by degeneration of the Achilles tendon. Additionally, the treatment for the two conditions differs slightly with Achilles tendonitis being treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation, and Achilles tendinopathy being treated with rest, stretching, strengthening exercises, and ice.

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To understand more about the causes of Achilles pain, the causes and how to manage it, head over to the physio room or click the button below.

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