Achilles Tendon: Introduction

Achilles Tendon Pain The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body, but it is also the one that is most commonly injured. We will now discuss the anatomy of the Achilles tendon as well as give an overview on common problems that can occur with the Achilles tendon.

Achilles Tendon: Anatomy

The Achilles tendon is approximately 15 centimeters in length. It is made up of a combination of fibers that are derived from two calf muscles: the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles (see image to the left). As the tendon descends, the fibers twist 90 degrees until it attaches into its insertion at the back of the calcaneus, or more commonly known as the heel bone.

Achilles Tendon Anatomy The Achilles tendon gets its blood supply from three sources: the muscle bellies (gastrocnemius and soleus) that they are attached to, the bone (calcaneus) that it inserts into, and a membrane that encases the tendon called the paratenon. There is an area on the tendon approximately two to six cm above its insertion into the calcaneus called the watershed area which is a common area for Achilles tendon lesions and ruptures. The exact reasoning for Achilles injuries are not know especially in tendonitis cases. The most common causes are traumatic injury with stress, chronic low grade strain or overuse type injuries.

Achilles Tendon Pain: Causes/Conditions

Achilles tendon injuries often occur from overuse The Achilles tendon is a group of fibers that connect the calf muscles to the heel. It is the body's strongest tendon, but it is also the one injured most often. There are a number of common injuries associated with Achilles tendon pain, including:

These conditions can be chronic and debilitating, limiting mobility and making everyday tasks difficult or impossible. With a rupture, the tear is usually due to a strong force causing the tendon to tear.  The more common causes of Achilles pain including tendonitis and tendinosis are due to chronic overuse, chronic low grade trauma, or poor foot and tendon function.  The difference between tendonitis or tendinosis cases is the length of injury.  Tendonitis cases are usually acute and short term in nature which tendinosis, or chronic scar tissue, cases are usually related to a prolonged period of injury with no inflammation.  Achilles bone spurs are due to chronic tightness of the Achilles pulling on the back of the heel and forming a tear with bone spur formation at the Achilles attachment site.  This may take years to develop and become painful.  Fortunately, there are a number of ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent each of these conditions. The foot and ankle specialists at the Achilles Injury Institute are highly trained to help get you back on your feet following an Achilles tendon injury.

Specialized Achilles TechnologyAt UFAI's Achilles Institute, we pride ourselves on having a comprehensive diagnostic center for assessment of Achilles injuries.  This includes x-rays bone alignment of the foot and checking for bone spurs or loose bone in the Achilles tendon.  More commonly, the soft tissue structures need to be checked.  For this, our Institute specializes in diagnostic ultrasound and MRI studies.  Diagnostic ultrasound is used for a live and real time imaging of the Achilles.  Being able to move the Achilles tendon during the exam allows for a better dynamic imaging of the tendon.  MRI is used for a more detailed imaging of the tendon in cases of chronic pain and possible tear.  MRI studies done at our Institute are designed with the foot and ankle in mind.  Our MRI machine is set to the ideal parameters for foot and ankle ailments and is designed to pick up even the most subtle damage regions.

Watch a Real Achilles Tendon Rupture Repair Surgery

Achilles Tendon: Treatment Options

Experienced Achilles Doctors, Advanced Achilles CareWhenever possible, conservative care techniques are preferred over surgical options for treating injuries to the Achilles tendon. The skilled Achilles specialists at the Achilles Injury Institute can recommend the best course of action for your particular injury. With convenient locations throughout Southern California, the UFAI's Achilles Injury Institute can offer you the best way to treat your injury, no matter how minor or severe. Treatment options are tailored to your individual condition and may include: 

At University Foot and Ankle Institute's Achilles Injury Institute, we know that finding the right Achilles specialist in Los Angeles can be difficult. With your mobility on the line, it is important to understand the condition you have and the best course of treatment you should take. Our Los Angeles Achilles tendon specialists can help you figure out the best procedure to correct your particular Achilles condition.