What is Achilles Tendinitis 

Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone.

Achilles tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It’s also common in middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball.

Most cases of Achilles tendinitis can be treated with relatively simple, at-home care under your doctor’s supervision. Self-care strategies are usually necessary to prevent recurring episodes. More-serious cases of Achilles tendinitis can lead to tendon tears (ruptures) that may require surgical repair.

Types of Achiles Tendinitis

There are two types of Achilles tendinitis, based on which part of the tendon is inflamed. The two types can occur separately or at the same time

Noninsertional Achilles Tendinitis

In noninsertional Achilles tendinitis, fibers in the middle portion of the tendon (above where it attaches to the heel) are affected. Over time, the fibers may begin to break down and develop tiny tears. This can lead to tendon swelling and thickening.

Non-insertional tendinitis more commonly affects younger, active people, especially runners.

Insertional Achilles Tendinitis

Insertional Achilles tendinitis involves the lower portion of the tendon, where it attaches (inserts) to the heel bone (also known as the calcaneus).

In both noninsertional and insertional Achilles tendinitis, damaged tendon fibers may calcify (harden) over time. Bone spurs often form on the heel with insertional Achilles tendinitis.

Insertional Achilles tendinitis can occur at any time or activity level, although it is still most common in runners. It is frequently caused by calf muscle tightness, which places increased stress on the Achilles tendon insertion.


Common symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include:

  • Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon in the morning
  • Pain along the tendon or back of the heel that worsens with activity
  • Severe pain the day after exercising
  • Thickening of the tendon
  • Bone spur formation (insertional tendinitis)
  • Swelling that is present all the time and gets worse throughout the day or with activity
  • Pain on the back of the heal when you wear shoes

If you have experienced a sudden pop in the back of your calf or heel, you may have torn your Achilles tendon. See your doctor immediately if you think you may have torn your tendon.

Exercises for Achelies Tendinitis 

If you are experiencing achelies tendinitis, here are 4 simple yet effective exercises that you should do to relieve the pain :


1.     Toe stretch

  • Sit in a chair and extend your affected leg so that your heel is on the floor.
  • With your hand, reach down and pull your big toe up and back (toward your ankle and away from the floor).
  • Hold the position for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2 to 4 times a session, up to 5 sessions a day.

2.     Calf-plantar fascia stretch

  • Sit with your legs extended and your knees straight.
  • Loop a towel around the leg to be stretched. Position the towel so that it goes around your foot just under the toes.
  • Hold each end of the towel in each hand, with your hands positioned above your knees.
  • Pull back with the towel so that your foot stretches toward you.
  • Hold the position for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2 to 4 times a session, up to 5 sessions a day.

3.     Calf stretch

  • Place your hands on a wall for balance. You can also do this with your hands on the back of a chair, a countertop, or a tree.
  • Step back with your left leg. Keep the leg straight, and press your left heel into the floor.
  • Press your hips forward, bending your right leg slightly. You will feel the stretch in your left calf.
  • Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2 to 4 times for each leg.

4.     Stair stretch

  • Stand with the balls of both feet on the edge of a stair or curb (or even a medium phone book), with at least one hand holding on to something solid, such as a banister or handrail, to help you keep your balance.
  • Keeping your affected leg straight, slowly let that heel hang down off of the stair or curb until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf and/or Achilles area. Some of your weight should still be on the other leg.
  • Hold this position for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2 to 4 times a session, up to 5 times a day or whenever your Achilles tendon starts to feel tight.


Extra Tips to Prevent Achelies Tendinitis

  • Gradually increase in training intensity.
  • Do not abruptly increase in the duration, distance and intensity of your workout. Make changes in your training regime incrementally instead.


  • Warm up before and stretching after physical activity.
  • Incorporate dynamic stretches such as lunges and leg swings into your warm-up routine. Always stretch after training to increase your ankle flexibility.


  • Wear proper running shoes.
  • Make sure that your shoes fit comfortably with good shock absorption. Foot orthotics can be effective for those who have flat feet.


  • Use proper running form.
  • Avoid leaning your body too far forward or backward by tightening your core muscles. Slow down your pace when going down steep surface.


  • Maintain healthy body weight.
  • Maintain healthy eating habits, get optimal sleep and perform physical activity regularly. Create achievable plan to lose weight if needed.

Prepared by:


Your Physio Penang

Chen Yan Xing

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