Achilles Tendon Facts

By Dr. Stefan Tarlow

Treating Achilles Tendon Injuries

Of all of the tendons in the human body, the Achilles tendon is the largest. The muscles at the posterior of the lower leg are attached to the calcaneous (heel bone) by the Achilles tendon. Because if it’s location, the Achilles tendon must withstand a great deal of pressure during strenuous exercise – especially sporting activities that involve a lot of pivoting.

Two types of injury are quite common for the Achilles tendon:

#1 Achilles tendonitis is inflammation caused by overuse.

Second is the tearing of the Achilles tendon.

What is Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis is caused by a sudden increase in the intensity of activity to which the Achilles tendon is subjected. So, for example, if you suddenly change the type of training you are doing or greatly increase the intensity of your existing training, you are likely to experience Achilles tendonitis. This is why you must take great care when adding very strenuous exercise to your routine or when returning to exercise after an extended break.

When you have Achilles tendonitis, you may feel mild pain immediately after exercising that becomes worse and worse with time. Several hours after your workout, you may experience severe pain. After you have rested, you may experience swelling, tenderness and stiffness that may subside somewhat with movement.

If the Achilles tendon is torn, it may be possible to repair it surgically. Tears and toughened, fibrous tissues may be removed with surgery. Rehabilitation to prevent weakness in the ankle will play a part in recovery.

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Specifics About Achilles Tendon Surgery

During strenuous activity, it is quite possible to tear the Achilles tendon. This is especially likely to happen while participating in sports. When the Achilles tendon tears, you may actually hear an audible snapping or cracking sound. You may have a partial or complete tear. This injury usually occurs just above the heel bone.

You may be unable to walk normally or bend your foot downward if you have ruptured the Achilles tendon. You are sure to feel a great deal of pain and experience swelling around your heel.

When you experience a complete rupture, you will usually need surgery. Following your surgery, you will probably be required to wear a walking cast or boot for about 3 months to hold the ankle stable.

Torn ligaments can be treated non-surgically by using a below-knee cast; however, this is not as effective as surgical treatment. It takes longer, and the healing is not as complete. You are more likely to have problems in the future when you allow the tendon to heal naturally.

You have a better chance to experience full recovery with surgery. That’s why active people who want to continue enjoying sports often choose surgical treatment for and injured Achilles tendon.

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