If you’ve injured the back of your lower leg when playing sports, there’s a good chance you’ve developed an Achilles tendon rupture.
The Achilles tendon is a fibrous stretch that attaches the muscles lined on the back of the calf to the bone in the heel.
If the Achilles tendon is pulled excessively during sports, it can “rupture” partially or completely. You’ll know you’ve likely ruptured your Achilles tendon when you hear a pop or experience sharp pain on the back of your calf.
In many cases, an Achilles tendon can be treated without surgery; in severe cases, the patient will require surgery.
Signs of an Achilles Tendon Rupture
Some people have Achilles tendon ruptures without any symptoms, while others experience the following:
- Soreness in the back of the calf. It may feel like a hard kick.
- Swelling and pain around the heel.
- Struggle to flex downwards or “to walk off” the injury
- Struggle to stand on their toes
- A snapping or popping sound at the time of the injury
Without our Achilles tendon, we’re unable to stand on our toes, point our foot downwards, and push ourselves forward when we walk.
We need it for everything our foot does!
Achilles tendon ruptures typically happen 2.5 inches above where it connects to the heel. This portion is most likely to rupture since it has poor blood flow and can’t heal as fast as other parts of the leg.
Ruptures happen when the tendon is pulled suddenly due to quick movements (like in sports).
They most commonly occur when:
- When you’ve fallen on your foot from a height
- You’ve unexpectedly stepped into a hole in the ground
- You’ve injured yourself in a sport that requires lots of jumping
Who’s At A Higher Risk?
Some people are more prone to Achilles tendon ruptures; this includes:
- Age Group: Achilles tendon ruptures are most common amongst 30-40-year-olds.
- Sex: Men are 5 times more prone to experiencing an Achilles tendon rupture than women.
- Playing Sports: Athletes playing sports like tennis, basketball, and soccer (any sport that requires jumping) are more prone to Achilles tendon ruptures than others.
- Steroid Injections: Physicians may inject steroids near the ankle to alleviate inflammation and pain, but the medicine may end up weakening other tendons located nearby and cause a rupture.
- Being Overweight: People who are overweight are more likely to experience ruptures because they tend to strain their tendons.
- Obesity: Excess weight puts more strain on the tendon.
If you think you have an Achilles tendon rupture, visit an orthopedist near you to prevent further damage.
Book an appointment with its private orthopedist online.