The Achilles tendon and other tendons connect your muscle to bones. The Achilles tendon is located on the back of your lower leg which connects your calf muscle to the heel bone.
You may also hear this tendon referred to as the heel cord and an injury to this tendon is commonly reported as an ACL injury. The Achilles tendon assists in walking by lifting your heel while you walk.
This tendon is the strongest tendon in your body. When you contract your calf muscles it will pull your Achilles and forces your foot to move in a downward motion. It is required to stand on your toes, walk, run, jump and any other activities involving your feet.
Every step you take places the entire weight of your body onto your Achilles tendon. Different activities such as those involved with athletics can place a tremendous strain upon your Achilles tendon. This is commonly the cause of injuries to the Achilles tendon in sports.
Why are my Achilles tendons so tight in the morning?
The most common type of injury to the Achilles tendon that causes pain is Achilles tendonitis but it is more commonly referred to as Achilles tendinopathy. Tendonitis is considered an inflammatory condition and what is commonly thought of as Achilles tendonitis is typically degenerated tissue with loss of tendon fibers.
Achilles tendonitis comes in two variations, acute and chronic. Acute will cause pain over a small number of days and chronic will occur over a longer time frame.
While it can be either acute or chronic the injury can also vary in its location. It will sometimes occur at the heel where the tendon attaches or maybe further up the tendon. The amount of time it will take for the tendon to heal will vary because this tendon receives poor blood flow.
Symptoms of Acute and Chronic Achilles tendon Pain in the morning
- An onset of pain localized around the ankle close to the heel bone.
- Occurs over a period of days.
- You may experience pain at the beginning of exercise which may subside during the exercise.
- The pain may subside after rest.
- Tenderness in the area.
- Gradual onset of Achilles tendon pain over a period of weeks.
- Pain during any exercise that does not subside.
- Tendon pain when walking especially up stairs or hills.
- Tendon pain even after rest or when waking up in the morning.
- You may feel lumps in the tendon.
- Swelling of the Achilles tendon.
- Redness of the skin.
It’s important to note that acute tendonitis can turn into chronic tendonitis if not properly treated. If you believe you are suffering from acute tendonitis you should get plenty of rest and take stress off the tendon. Once you progress to chronic tendonitis and can be difficult to treat.
Other Causes of Achilles tendon Pain in the morning
- An increase in activity. (Running, athletics)
- Limited recovery time.
- Improper footwear.
- Weak calf muscles.
- Limited range of motion in the ankle.
If you are a runner then running up hills excessively can cause irritation. The tendon is taxed more than usual when running on uneven surfaces.
High heels worn on a regular basis can cause irritation to the tendon.
In most cases, you’ll find that several causes contribute to the injury.
Excessive strain on the Achilles tendon is the leading cause of injury. The most common type of injury is Achilles tendonitis and Achilles tendon rupture.
Achilles tendonitis will normally only result in soreness and maybe some stiffness that will gradually become worse until you go in for treatment. Most commonly notice this injury first thing in the morning after you place pressure onto the tendon, if you pinch the tendon and it’s sore you will know you have injured it somehow. Tendonitis most commonly occurs in runners.
A rupture of the Achilles tendon is defined by a complete or partial tear of the tendon. If you rupture your Achilles tendon it will come on instantly, you may hear a loud popping sound, and you will fall to the ground in pain.
This type of injury is commonly found in high-level sports where players make sudden quick movements on their feet. A rupture may also occur in older athletes more commonly and partial tears can occur in runners as well.
Achilles tendon pain can be caused by different factors as we have pointed out but Achilles tendonitis is commonly caused by a combination of several factors.
Be sure to properly rest after heavy athletic activity and be sure to seek treatment if you believe you have damaged the tendon to prevent the onset of chronic Achilles tendonitis.