The Achilles tendon is a problematic area, and one that can get pretty painful. It is important when you start to feel pain in this area, that you take notice and do the correct rehabilitation. Achilles tendon injuries are painful and complicated, but not impossible to rehabilitate. They often take a lot of time, and you need to be patient with the work you are doing. it is important that you get it right the first time in order to avoid repeating the injury, and possibly making it worse. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to your heel bone. It is a thick tendon that is visible at the back of your foot, and works to help you rise onto your toes. There are two common injuries to this tendon that we will discuss.
- Achilles Tendinopathy: This is when there are micro tears present in the tendon and the surrounding tissue, which is usually caused by overuse. There may also be inflammation present.
- Achilles Rupture: The tendon completely or partially ruptures or tears.
What Causes Achilles Tendon Injuries?
- Overuse is the biggest culprit in this area. When a movement is repeated, often badly or on a bad surface, an overuse injury can occur. Micro tears occur depending on how long, hard and often the movement is being repeated. The issue with this style of injury is it is quite difficult to repair, and will take time.
- Not being warmed up or in a condition ready to exercise can also cause Achillies tendon pain.
- Shoes with bad arch support or too rigid heels can be a major contributing factor, you may also experience arch pain.
As you can see the most common method of injury is overuse The overuse causes micro tears, and as a consequence your tendon is more susceptible to rupture. A sudden and forceful movement that requires a lot of work from the calves can cause this rupture. Sprinting and jumping are common movements.
Symptoms Of Achilles Tendon Injury
- Ankle swelling
- Pain ranging from mild to severe
- Less strength
- Less mobility in the ankle
- Sudden sharp pain
- Audible popping sound
- Swelling and bruising
- No movement possible
Treatment Of Achilles Tendon Injuries
- Rest: Weeks to months depending on severity.
- Pain medication: May be necessary depending on levels of pain.
- Stretching exercises: Stretch the calf a tight calf will place extra pressure on the Achilles tendon.
- Calf Strengthening exercises: You may have a weak calf, and it is placing a lot of pressure onto the tendon It is essential to include simple calf raises into your rehabilitation to ensure that you strengthen the area and avoid further injury. Ensure you do the right leg workout for sports recovery.
- Surgery: To repair the tendon
- Cast/ Splint/ Brace: To keep it stable while the tendon heals. Basically stop the lower leg from moving.
- Rehabilitation: Similar strengthening exercises in the calf area.
Achilles tendon injuries are painful and often take time to recover. If you make sure you do your rehabilitation properly, you will be back playing sport to your full ability.