Achilles tendonitis, also called Achilles tendinitis, occurs when the tendon that attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone (i.e., the Achilles tendon) becomes inflamed. Signs of Achilles tendonitis include foot pain (especially when rising up on your toes or pushing off of your foot), stiffness and swelling in the ankle area, and/or a lump on the tendon. Severe pain or an inability to bend your foot downward may indicate a serious injury, such as a torn or ruptured tendon.

Treatment for Achilles tendonitis usually involves self-care measures, including rest, ice, and non-prescription pain relief medication. In some cases, a shoe insert that lifts the heel up slightly or a brace that prevents the tendon from stretching also may be recommended. Severe cases of Achilles tendonitis may require wearing a special boot or using crutches to allow the tendon to heal, and physical therapy.

Here are some questions to ask your doctor (e.g., podiatrist) about Achilles tendonitis. Print this page, check off the questions you would like answered, and take it with you to your doctor appointment. The more you know about Achilles tendonitis, the easier it will be to work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan and prevent further injury.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Achilles Tendonitis

  • What is Achilles tendonitis?
  • Why do you suspect that Achilles tendonitis is causing my foot pain?
  • What causes Achilles tendonitis?
  • What kinds of examinations and diagnostic tests will be performed?
  • What type of treatment(s) do you recommend?
  • Why do you recommend this treatment?
  • What are the benefits and risks associated with this treatment for Achilles tendonitis?
  • Do you recommend that I take over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription pain relief medication? If so, what kind and how often?
  • Are there any serious side effects associated with these pain relievers?
  • What should I do if my symptoms worsen or I experience serious medication side effects?
    Telephone number to call:
  • How long will I need to rest my Achilles tendon?
  • Are there exercises that can help my Achilles tendon heal? Where can I learn more about these exercises?
  • What kinds of activities and exercises should I avoid while my Achilles tendon heals?
  • Do you recommend physical therapy? Why or why not?
  • Where can I go to have physical therapy?
    Name of Practice/Therapist: Telephone number to call:
  • How soon can I resume my normal activities after I recover?
  • Are there activities I should avoid after my Achilles tendonitis heals?
  • Are there any complications associated with Achilles tendonitis? If so, what are the signs of these complications?
  • What can I do to prevent Achilles tendonitis from recurring and avoid complications?

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 25 May 2009

Last Modified: 26 Aug 2015