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Signs Your Achilles Tendon Is in Trouble

You have two Achilles tendons. Each runs across the back of your leg, connecting your calf to your heel bone. These fibrous bands of tissue are the largest and strongest tendons in your body, capable of withstanding more than 1,000 pounds of force. 

You’d think, then, that you don’t really need to worry about them. Actually, though, Achilles tendons are so tough because they have to hold up to a lot, so much so that they’re the most commonly ruptured tendon. 

Fortunately, you’ll often notice warning signs before your Achilles reaches the point of rupture. At Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Consultants of New York, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Cary B. Chapman, MD, and our team strive to help you keep your Achilles tendon healthy.

With years of expertise treating Achilles tendinitis and tendon ruptures, Dr. Chapman helped us compile the top warning signs of problems with this part of your body. Watch out for these things. 

Heel pain

If you feel pain at the back of your heel, it’s a pretty safe bet that your Achilles tendon is aggravated. That’s one of the telltale symptoms of Achilles tendinitis, or inflammation in this tendon. 

You might notice this heel pain in the morning. If the area above your heel feels tender when you first wake up and start walking around, talk to Dr. Chapman to get the Achilles tendon care you need. 

Pain and stiffness after exercise… 

If you notice pain on the back of your leg or heel after working out, keep an eye on it. If it doesn’t go away in a few days, take a few days off. This gives your Achilles tendon the opportunity to heal. 

You might feel stiff in the area or notice that your leg feels sluggish. These are also signs that your Achilles tendon was under too much pressure during your recent workouts or other activity. 

… that eases when you exercise again

If your pain or stiffness isn’t enough to keep you off your feet for a bit, you might notice something odd. Your leg or heel pain might ease during a workout or sports game. But don’t take it as a good sign. It just means the tendon has warmed up. It doesn’t mean that the area has healed. 

While it might seem like something you can ignore since it goes away sometimes, discomfort that eases as you exercise is actually a good indicator you’re having a tendon problem. 


If you notice swelling at the back of your heel or along your calf, there’s inflammation in the area. And if it comes with discomfort, it’s highly likely you have Achilles tendinitis. 

These signs should all slow you down. Stay off your feet as much as possible for a few days so your tendon can recuperate. If your discomfort persists, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with Dr. Chapman.

For care to protect your Achilles tendon or to heal tendinitis or a rupture, call either of our offices — on the Upper East Side of Manhattan or on Staten Island — or request an appointment online today.

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