Achilles tendon injury is common and it can affect everyone, whether you are an athlete or just going about your daily life.
Achilles tendon is known to be the largest and most powerful of all the tendons present in the human body. A long, tough cord of tissue which connects the muscle to the bone is referred to as tendon. You can find the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel and connects the heel bone with the calf muscle. Some of the functions of the Achilles tendon include and not limited to making walking easier, running and jumping. The Achilles tendon being a tough cord has the ability to withstand stress; however, Achilles tendon injury is associated with over stressing of the tendon.
In the event that your Achilles tendon breaks, you can hear a pop sound which is accompanied by a burning pain at the back of the ankle and lower leg; this can make it difficult for you to walk properly. Most of the times surgery is required to repair the injury, but the good news is that nonsurgical treatment is also a suitable alternative.
What are the Symptoms of Achilles Tendon Injury?
Below are some of the common symptoms of symptoms of Achilles tendon injury:
- A limited range of movements when bending the foot
- Pain, probably severe, and swelling near the heel
- Difficulty bending the foot downward or "push off" the injured leg while walking
- The inability to stand on the toes of the injured leg
- A popping sound when the injury occurs
What are the Causes of Achilles Tendon Injury?
Achilles tendon injury is prevalent among individuals who are into sports that involve quick speed up, slow down, or pivot. Some examples are: running, gymnastics, dance, football, baseball, softball, basketball, and tennis among others.
Achilles tendon injury usually occurs as a result of sudden movement when you push off and when you lift your foot and not when you land. Below are some of the risk factors of Achilles tendon injury.
Risk factors of Achilles Tendon Injury
Some of the risk factors that can increase the risk of Achilles tendon injury are listed below:
- Age: Achilles tendon injury usually occurs between the ages of 30 to 40 years.
- Recreational sports. Achilles tendon injury usually occur in sports such as running, jumping and some other sports that involve sudden starts and stops, examples include football, basketball, and tennis.
- Other risk factors are steroid injections, certain antibiotics such as Fluoroquinolone antibiotics and Obesity among others.
Treatment of Achilles Tendon Injury
Most of the times ranging from minor to moderate Achilles tendon injury can heal on their own, but to hasten recovery process, you can do the following:
- Rest your legs: This has to do with putting less weight on your leg. Sometimes, crutches may be needed.
- Ice: Apply ice to the affected part for up to 20 minutes.
- Compress your leg: Use an elastic bandage around your lower leg and ankle in order to limit swelling.
- Lift your leg: Use a pillow to raise your leg up while you sit or lie down.
- Take over-the-counter drugs: Take Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen as they can help relieve pain and swelling.
- Use a heel lift. Upon recovery, your doctor may recommend that you use an insert. The essence of this is to protect your Achilles tendon from further stretching.
- Your doctor or physical therapist, or other health care provider can recommend stretching and strengthening exercises.