What is an Achilles Tendon Strain?
An Achilles Tendon Strain is a common injury occurring in the Achilles Tendon, the largest tendon in the body that connects the heel to the calf muscles. Whilst very strong, the tendon is not flexible unless conditioned. This means anyone from an athlete to someone going about their everyday life can be affected by a strain. A strain occurs when the tendon is inflamed. Common types of inflamed tendon include Tendonitis and Tendinosis.
Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Strain
It is common to experience localised pain after incurring an Achilles tendon strain. Additionally, there will be some swelling around and within the tendon itself, near the heel. A strained tendon may make it difficult to stand on your toes. It may only be mild and can pass over time, however if it is continuous you should seek medical attention. Achilles Tendon Strain can be diagnosed through an Ultrasound.
Prevention of an Achilles Tendon Strain
It is possible to prevent a strain of the Achilles tendon in several ways. Stretching is an effective preventive measure, specifically focusing on tendon and calf stretches. Stretches and light exercises will strengthen the tendon and reduce chances on strains and ruptures. Additionally, it is helpful to wear shoes that fit properly and that support your heels.
Risk factors of an Achilles Tendon Strain
Often, sudden large changes in training patterns can cause additional stress on the Achilles tendon and result in a strain. This can be mitigated by increasing training intensity gradually and by strengthening calf muscles. Weak calf muscles are more susceptible to tissue damage.
Other risk factors include wearing high heels, being over the age of 30, having high arched feet and the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is surgery the only option for repairing a torn Achilles tendon?
Surgery is the most popular method for patients hoping to get back to peak physical ability in the shortest amount of time possible. Non-surgical options are available but may leave heightened risk of further rupture in the future.
How long does it take to recover?
Typically, it’s about 10 months to a year before patients are back to doing what they were doing before tearing their Achilles. But improvements can be seen along the way.
Are there other common kinds of Achilles injuries?
It is possible to have an Achilles tendon that is working too hard but hasn’t torn. This is called tendinopathy. Common signs include tenderness where the Achilles meets the heel bone.
Treatment for an Achilles strain would be Physiotherapy. This offers the best chances of a full recovery in the shortest amount of time. Your Physiotherapist will be able to provide you with a full report of your specific case.
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