Pain at the back of the ankle is usually related to the achilles tendon and comes on gradually over time. A sudden onset or acute achilles tendon injury may be a partial or even complete rupture of the achilles tendon which needs urgent medical assistance. Thompson's squeeze test can be done to rule out a complete achilles tendon rupture. More commonly achilles tendonitis or similar injuries tend to occur over time.
Achilles tendonitis (also known as Achilles tendinopathy or Achilles tendinosis) is an overuse injury causing pain, inflammation and or degeneration of the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle. This achilles injury can be both acute and chronic, with the main symptoms being pain and stiffness in the tendon at the back of the ankle. It can be a difficult injury to treat so catching it early will help prevent further damage.
A total rupture of the Achilles tendon is a complete tear of the tendon and typically affects men over the age of 40 involved in a recreational sport. A sharp pain, as if you have been hit, in the achilles tendon is the main indicator of a rupture. Sometimes you can even hear it snap. Read more on how to assess if you have an achilles rupture, and ways to treat it if you have got this injury.
Achilles tendon bursitis, also known as Retrocalcaneal bursitis is a common foot pain in athletes, particularly runners. It can often be mistaken for Achilles tendonitis or can also occur in conjunction with Achilles tendonitis. With tendon bursitis, the bursa (which helps tendons move over bones) becomes inflamed, normally from overuse. This can cause tenderness and swelling at the heel.
Achilles tenosynovitis is an inflammatory condition of the sheath or layer surrounding the Achilles tendon. It is sometimes also known as paratenonitis. It is an overuse injury which affects the sheath surrounding the achilles tendon, rather than tendonitis which is the degeneration fo the tendon itself. Read more on the causes, symptoms and treatment of this achilles injury.
Insertional Achilles Tendonitis causes pain at the back of the heel at the point where the achilles tendon inserts into the heel bone. The injury is similar to Sever's disease in children, usually occuring gradually but can also be acute or sudden onset. If it is acute, the main aim is to prevent the injury becoming chronic. Here we explain the symptoms, causes and treatment.
A partial Achilles tendon rupture can occur in athletes from all sports but particularly in running, jumping, throwing and racket sports. The tendon will not completely tear and it may not be noticed until activity is stopped. Sharp achilles pain and stiffness are two of the main symptoms, which may only appear as the muscles cool down after exercise.
When retrocalcaneus bursitis exists at the same time as Achilles tendonitis in the same leg, this is known as Haglund's Syndrome. Both these conditions need to be treated in order to recover from Haglund's syndrome. Heel pain, tenderness and swelling are the main symptoms. We explain the symptoms and possible treatment options available.