Sprained Achilles Tendon

by Sam Malone

The Achilles tendon is one of the strongest tendons in the body. It connects the foot to your leg by connecting the heel with the muscles of the calf. The Achilles tendon is also called the calaneal tendon. This tendon is the thickest tendon in the human body. Flexing this tendon can flex the spinal cord and it can bear up to 3. 9 times the body weight while walking and over 7 times the body weight while running.

This muscle is very important for posture and activity, damage to the muscle can also result in many limitations as far as movement and posture are concerned. Injury to this tendon is quite common in sports persons. Activities like running, tennis, football, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, and even dance can make the participants prone to an Achilles tendon injury. Some of the main causes are

  • Increase of the pace of physical activity
  • Overuse of the leg
  • Constant use of high heel shoes
  • Tight muscles or tensed muscles of the leg
  • Problems like flat feet
Even wrong footwear or medication side effects can result in an Achilles tendon injury.

The Achilles tendon generally tends to get strained or sprained and it is only in rare cases that it can rupture.  You should take proper care at the outset so that the injury does not worsen. There are some symptoms of an Achilles tendon injury and some of the main symptoms of an Achilles tendon injury are:

  • Pain: Along the foot, sole of the foot, at the back of the leg and pain especially while flexing your leg
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Occasionally, a snap or a pop can also be heard
Achilles heel injuries take long to heal and without proper care it might become a lifelong problem that never quite goes away. The best treatment for Achilles tendon pain is to rest and use cold compresses.

  • Rest your leg if you feel like the tendon is strained or sprained. Keep your weight off your foot.
  • Ice the muscle a few times in the day. Ice prevents the injury from worsening and will even discourage inflammation. The ideal time frame for icing is 30 minutes, every 3 to 4 hours for a few days or till the pain goes away.
  • Use a compressed bandage or a crepe bandage to keep the injured tendon in place.
  • If the pain is very severe, you may require pain medication.
  • If the sprain is not getting better, a brace can also be used to support the tendon while it heals.
In cases where the injury does not get better in a few days, it is important that you visit a doctor who can help you to get better. Achilles tendinoisis and Achilles tendon rupture are the two common injuries of this tendon. Sometimes surgery is used to repair the torn muscle. Recovery from an Achilles tendon surgery takes about four to six weeks. Massage therapy is also a big part of the treatment for an Achilles tendon injury.

Achilles tendinoisis was earlier known as Achilles tendonitis and is characterized by an audible ‘pop ’of the muscle followed by intense debilitating pain. Usually only a physician can diagnose the difference in tendinoisis and a rupture. Since this is a common sports injury, sports medicine involves a regimented course of treatment for Achilles tendon injuries. There are many specialists who only deal in the treatment of Achilles tendon injuries.

There are new and experimental treatments that claim to increase blood flow to the injured region. In this form of treatment, the increased blood flow increases the count of white blood cells to the injured area, helping the body to heal the injury on its own.

Reference:
  1. http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_causes_of_male_infertility_000067_4.htm
  2. http://www.stanford.edu/class/siw198q/websites/reprotech/New%20Ways%20of%20Making%20Babies/causemal.htm


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