10 Common Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis

We have all heard about the Achilles tendon. It refers to the Greek hero, Achilles, who was taken down by an arrow to his ankle – the only vulnerable part of his body. You use your Achilles tendon all the time – when you walk, jump, run, put your shoes on, get out of bed, play sports…the list goes on and on. So, it is prone to degeneration and overuse that cause pain, inflammation, and other issues.

Did you know the Achilles tendon is the biggest tendon in the human body? It is what connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Do you experience pain, or have you injured your Achilles tendon? Achilles tendinitis is also known as tendinitis of the heel. Here are some of the symptoms of this condition.

Symptom 1: Stiffness

Do you ever feel stiffness in your Achilles tendon or calf muscles? It commonly occurs after sleeping or resting and then moving.

You may not be able to fully move your ankle. The stiffness affects your range of motion. Exercise helps to reinforce your calf muscles and decrease stress on your Achilles tendon.

Symptom 2: Severe Pain

Do you feel pain on the back of your leg near your heel? It often occurs after sleeping or resting, during physical activity, or after exercising.

Your doctor will examine your feet and ankles to determine where you have pain and tenderness, including the front, back and middle of your Achilles tendon.

Symptom 3: Exercise

Do you feel severe pain the day after you exercise? Do you feel pain along the back of your heel after exercising?

You may want to eliminate exercise from your routine for a few days to see if that reduces the pain you feel with your Achilles tendon.

Symptom 4: Thickened Tendon

Do you feel or sense that your tendon has thickened or enlarged recently? According to Radiopaedia, the Achilles tendon should be an average AP diameter of 6 mm. Tendon thickening is when it exceeds 8 mm in AP diameter.

Thickening can be due to degeneration, surgery, rheumatoid arthritis, or other issues.

Symptom 5: Bone Spur

Do you feel a bone spur along your tendon? A bone spur is extra bone growth. Such new growth sometimes forms an irregular bulge on your bone.

Bone Spurs can occur on various parts of your body, but most do not cause problems. However, where the Achilles tendon fastens to your heel bone, it can cause it to rub on the tendon and generate pain.

Symptom 6: Swelling

Swelling can occur and remain along your Achilles tendon or on the back of your heel.

Try to rest your Achilles tendon as much as possible for a few days. Also, you can use icepacks and over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce the swelling.

Symptom 7: Popping Sound

Do you feel or hear a sudden popping or cracking sound behind your calf in your heel? This sound is heard when scar tissue rubs on the Achilles tendon.

You may have torn or ruptured your Achilles tendon. Seek medical attention.


Symptom 8: Warm Skin

You may experience, warmth, swelling, and redness on the back of your heel. If you touch the skin on your heel, it may feel very warm compared to other areas.

Icepacks and over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medications may help reduce the redness and warmth.

Symptom 9: Scar Tissue

Over a period of time, an inflamed Achilles tendon can cause scar tissue to form. You can sometimes feel a bump or nodule on the tendon that is made up of the scar tissue.

Unfortunately, scar tissue increases your chances of your Achilles tendon rupturing or tearing.

Symptom 10: Tight or Tired Calf Muscles

If you do not properly stretch your calf muscles before exercising or doing an activity, you put more stress on your Achilles tendon.

Make sure to stretch and wear shoes that properly support your ankles and movements.