The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body. It is vitally important for walking and for any sporting activities. Achilles tendon problems are very common and range from tendinitis and tendinosis (inflammation and degeneration of the tendon itself) to ruptures of the tendon. Achilles tendinitis is caused by microtears in the Achilles tendon. This leads to a painful swelling and tenderness in the back just above the heel. The treatment of this often involves resting the Achilles tendon in a boot or doing a guided physical therapy program. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) can also be a very effective non-surgical way to allow the area to heal. Often, patients have a Haglund’s deformity which is a large bony bump at the base of the tendon as well. These patients most commonly require surgical removal of the bump and cleanup and repair of the frayed and degenerated Achilles tendon.
Patients can also have acute Achilles tendon rupture. This most commonly occurs during a sporting event such as a racquet sport or basketball. Patients feel a pop and often feel like someone has kicked them in the back of the leg. The treatment of an Achilles tendon rupture has been shown to be most successful with surgical treatment. Patients are more likely to return to their pre-rupture level if they have surgical intervention rather than a cast treatment. Dr. Gupta performs both open procedures and minimally invasive procedures for Achilles tendon ruptures, and overall the majority of patients return to all of their activities after Achilles tendon rupture.