The Achilles tendon connects the heel bone with the calf muscles. It is the largest tendon in the body and is capable of absorbing a great deal of force. It is instrumental in helping the body walk, run, and stand up onto the toes. Under certain conditions, when the Achilles tendon is under severe stress, it may tear or rupture. This may be caused by playing sports such as tennis or basketball (which involve a lot of starting and stopping), being older or overweight, using steroids, or taking certain antibiotics. All of these factors can weaken the Achilles tendon and make it more susceptible to injuries. If you have ruptured your Achilles tendon, you may have severe pain or swelling near the heel, or you may be unable to stand on the affected leg. You may have even heard a popping sound at the moment of injury. There are a variety of treatment options available for a ruptured Achilles tendon. A podiatrist can determine what course of treatment is best for you after examining and diagnosing your condition.
Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Matthew McQuaid, DPM of Lake Mendocino Podiatry. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
What Is the Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can create immense difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.
What Are the Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?
There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common injuries are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.
Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms
- Dull to severe pain
- Increased blood flow to the tendon
- Thickening of the tendon
- Extreme pain and swelling in the foot
- Total immobility
Treatment and Prevention
Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation, which can include an MRI. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:
- Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise
- Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses