Achilles Tendon Specialist in Kirkland, WA
What is your Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles tendon is a thick tendon located in the back of your leg. The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in your body. This tendon links the muscles in your calf to your heel.
You use your Achilles tendon when you walk, run, climb stairs, jump, and many other activities. Dr. Camille Clinton is fellowship-trained in sports medicine with extensive experience treating sports injuries. She applies the latest techniques to ensure a safe and efficient return to activities.
What are some Common Achilles Tendon Injuries?
Your Achilles tendon bears a lot of stress and pressure during everyday activities, as well as during athletic and recreational play.
If you injure your Achilles tendon, it usually falls into two categories, tendonitis or a rupture.
If your Achilles tendon becomes inflamed, swollen, or irritated it is known as tendonitis.
Tendonitis of the Achilles tendon:
- May occur due to overuse
- May occur from damage
- Can cause pain down the back of your leg
- May cause you to feel pain around your heel
- May show signs of getting thicker and hardening because of tendonitis that could get worse over time
- Can happen from small tears in the middle fibers of the tendon and usually happens to active, younger adults (known as non insertional Achilles tendonitis)
- Can occur where your tendon meets your heel bone, causing extra bone growths, and can happen at any age and at all activity levels
- Sometimes happens due to a change in activity level, tight calf muscles, or repetitive stress to the tendon
If you have a ruptured Achilles tendon, it can be a complete or partial break/tear in your tendon.
Rupture of the Achilles tendon:
- Requires immediate medical attention
- You might hear a pop that seems to come from the back of your heel or calf
- Typically results from a sudden injury
Do I Have an Achilles Tendon Injury?
If you have an Achilles tendon injury, you should seek medical attention to get properly diagnosed. Your doctor can listen to your symptoms and check for bone spurs, pain, and swelling.
You may need an imaging test like an X-ray, or MRI. This will give a better overview of what is going on and identify areas of concern.
- An X-ray shows bones and can show bone spurs and if the tendon has become calcified or hardened.
- A MRI will help you see how severe the tendon damage is and what treatment is best for you.
As you talk with Dr. Camille Clinton, you will discuss your symptoms, desired outcomes, and the best way to move forward.
What Treatment is Available for Achilles Tendon Injuries?
Treatment depends on how badly injured your tendon is. Some common treatment options include nonsurgical, various types of therapy or surgery.
Nonsurgical treatment options
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief
- Heel lifts in shoes, orthotic shoes, cast, splint, or a walking boot
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections to stimulate healing
- Specific strength exercises to strengthen your calf muscles
- Physical therapy
- Eccentric strength training. This type of exercise helps strengthen your calf muscles to take pressure off your tendon
- Calf stretches and heel drops
- Adjust physical activity to low-impact activities, such as swimming
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy uses high-energy shockwave impulses to help stimulate the healing process in damaged tendon tissue
- The type of surgery depends on the location and amount of damage to the tendon
- Usually only recommended if the pain does not improve after 6 months of nonsurgical treatment
- Surgery to lengthen your calf muscles (gastrocnemius recession)
- Surgery to remove damaged tendon tissue or bone spurs and repair the tendon (debridement)
- Surgery to remove your damaged tendon tissue, fix the remaining tendon, and give it extra strength by moving another tendon to the heel bone
- Varies depending on the damage to the tendon and if there is more tendon involved, the longer the recovery period, and the less likely a patient will be able to return to high levels of physical activity
- Requires a long recovery period
Schedule a Consultation for Achilles Tendon Treatment
Dr. Camille Clinton is a fellowship-trained board-certified orthopedic surgeon that specializes in sports medicine. As a former athlete, she knows how important it is to ensure a safe and timely return to play. Call (425) 899-4810 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Clinton today!