Achilles tendon injuries are common in athletes of sports that involve running, jumping, sudden acceleration and deceleration movements, and rapid changes of direction. That’s why women tennis players are often prone to suffering from injuries involving the Achilles tendon.
Incurring an Achilles tendon injury can really dampen your athletic career if not treated promptly. So, for all the athletes out there, don’t hesitate to book a consultation with our orthopedic ankle surgeon in Cary to discuss your treatment options and to prevent further complications.
The Achilles tendon
The Achilles tendon is the largest and thickest tendon of the body. A tendon is a fibrous connective tissue that attaches muscles to bones. They are usually flexible and good at withstanding tension. However, they are also inelastic.
The Achilles tendon is located at the back of the leg, above the heel. It is also called the heel cord or calcaneal tendon because it connects the calf muscles to the calcaneal bone (heel bone). Moreover, this tendon allows you to walk, run, jump, and stand on tiptoe. Its many functions also make it prone to injury.
A ruptured or torn Achilles tendon falls under the category of an overuse injury. This means that the injury results from subjecting the tendon to long-term repetitive movements, as in the case of tennis players.
One of the most common causes of Achilles tendon injury is playing sports that involve sudden movements, running, jumping, and sudden change in direction. Example of these sports are tennis, gymnastics, baseball, basketball, softball, and volleyball.
The following factors can predispose you to injuring your Achilles tendon:
- Wearing high heels often. This can put too much stress on the tendon.
- Having fallen arches or flat feet. People with flat feet tend to have a collapsed arch each time they step their foot. This stretches the tendons and muscles of the feet.
- Having tight leg tendons and muscles. That’s why it’s important to do stretching and warm-up exercises before playing sports.
- Taking fluoroquinolones. This antibiotic might impede the formation of collagen and the supply of blood to the joints, making it prone to injury.
How do I know if I have injured my Achilles tendon? Signs and Symptoms
If you have a torn Achilles tendon, you may hear a popping or snapping sound as it happens. The pain above the heel usually intensifies when you move your ankles and stand on your toes. The pain can range from mild to severe, depending on the severity of the tear in the tendon. Mild cases can either get better or get worse over time. The pain is accompanied by swelling, bruising, tenderness, and stiffness.
If the tendon is completely ruptured, the pain is severe and the onset of the signs and symptoms is immediate. Walking will be difficult, as you will find it painful to push your toes when taking a step with the injured foot. You will also be unable to flex the affected ankle, otherwise known as a positive Thompson’s test.
Are you suffering from an injured Achilles tendon? Here’s what you should do:
Physical fitness is important to every tennis player. So, if you are suffering from the signs and symptoms mentioned previously, it is recommended that you schedule a consult with an ankle doctor in Cary to find out the severity of your injury and the best course of treatment.
Minor and moderate Achilles tendon injuries can usually heal on their own, as long as proper care is observed. These include resting the affected foot, applying a cold compress to the injured site, wrapping the ankle with an elastic bandage, and elevating the leg on 2-3 pillows when lying down. You can also take pain killers to manage the pain and anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent further swelling.
However, in the event of a ruptured Achilles tendon, surgery is usually recommended. See an ankle surgeon in Cary to get a personalized treatment for your injury.
Learn more about ankle doctors in Cary
The board certified, fellowship trained foot and ankle specialist, as well as the podiatrist at Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic bring together many years of experience to diagnose and treat even the most complex foot and ankle conditions for patients of all ages.
At Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic our foot and ankle doctors and staff are recognized as leaders and innovators in the field of orthopaedics. Our surgeons regularly develop content designed to educate our patients with high-quality orthopedic knowledge sources.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.