Achilles Tendonitis and Tears

FAQ’s on Achilles Tendonitis/Tendinosis/Tears in Oklahoma

 

Around 230,000 Achilles tendon sports injuries occur each year in the United States. In addition, these injuries can cause loss of work time, pain, and decreased quality of life. A painful Achilles tendon is often disabling and takes a long time to get better.

 

What is the Achilles tendon?

 

The Achilles tendon connects the heel bone to the calf muscles. Achilles tendonitis and tendinosis are painful, common overuse injuries in people who play sports. However, these conditions also occur in inactive persons. This Achilles tendon is ruptured from an imbalance between the damage and repair processes in the tendon.

 

What is the most common type of Achilles tendon injury?

 

Achilles tendinosis and tendon rupture are the two most common Achilles tendon injuries. Achilles tendinosis involves excessive wearing of the tendon, from overuse or repetitive injury. Achilles tendon tearing occurs when the tendon is torn, frayed, or ripped. In rare cases, the tendon tears into two pieces.

 

What is the difference between Achilles tendinosis and tendonitis?

 

Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon. With tendinosis, there is no evidence of inflammation; rather, the tendon is inflamed from the injured areas of the tendon. The microscopic analysis the collagen and fibers are degenerated, disorganized, and scarred.

 

What is Achilles tendinopathy?

 

Achilles tendinosis is also called tendinopathy. This results in stiffness and soreness that gradually occurs and continues to worsen until treated. Tendinosis is a common injury among long distance runners. The severity of Achilles tendinosis is staged based on the pinch test (soreness to touch), amount of stiffness and creaking, and how the tendon feels with activity.

 

What are the four stages of Achilles tendinosis?

 

There are four grading stages of Achilles tendinosis. These include:

  • Stage 1 – With this problem, there is some discomfort in the early morning when first rising. The creaking and stiffness goes away after several minutes, but there is soreness with the pinch test.

 

  • Stage 2 – Pain occurs during exercise, and stiffness/creaking continues. Pinching the Achilles tendon elicits soreness.

 

  • Stage 3 – Pain occurs with running. Stiffness and creaking continues when first arising, but may persist during the day. Soreness occurs with the pinch test.

 

  • Stage 4 – The tendon hurts too much to exercise or run. Stiffness continues to appear when arising of the morning, as well as most of the day. Light pinching causes.

 

What is Achilles tenosynovitis?

 

Achilles tenosynovitis is similar to tendinosis, but affects the tendon sheath rather than the inside of the tendon. Achilles tenosynovitis causes fibrosis and scarring, which may restrict tendon activities within the sheath. Tenosynovitis within the Achilles tendon sheath can lead to Achilles tendinosis.

 

What is Achilles tendon rupture?

 

Achilles tendon rupture comes on suddenly and causes a popping sound. A full rupture is severe and can cause serious pain. The full rupture involves tearing of the tendon into two separate pieces. Achilles tendon tearing occurs most often among middle-aged runners and athletes.

 

Does stem cell therapy work for Achilles tendon tears and injuries?

 

In a recent animal study, rats with Achilles tears and injuries were treated with a stem cell group, platelet-rich plasma treated group, and a control group. After treatment, the levels of growth factors in tendon recover were higher in the stem cell group than the PRP group and the control group. In medical studies, stem cell injections have shown promise for treating Achilles injuries.

 

Resources

  • Guelfi M, Pantalone A, Vanni D, Abate M, et al. (2014). Long-term beneficial effects of platelet-rich plasma for non-insertional Achilles tendinopathy. Foot Ankle Surg., 21(3):178-81. doi: 10.1016/j.fas.2014.11.005.
  • Tan EW & Schon LC (2016). Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Bearing Sutures for Tendon Repair and Healing in the Foot and Ankle. Foot Ankle Clin, 21(4):885-890. doi: 10.1016/j.fcl.2016.07.015.
  • Yuksel S etal. (2016). Comparison of the early period effects of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells and platelet-rich plasma on the Achilles tendon ruptures in rats. Connect Tissue Res., 57(5):360-73. doi: 10.1080/03008207.2016.1189909.

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