What is Behind An Achilles Tendon Rupture
If you have experienced an Achilles tendon rupture then you will be all-too-familiar with that snapping sensation and that acute pain that stops you in your tracks. When the Achilles tendon tears, it often happens mid stride or during an explosive movement. The podiatrists at the Sydney heel pain clinic commonly treat runners, basketball players, soccer players and a variety of other athletic people that don’t fully understand the signs and symptoms that precede the Achilles tendon rupture. “Quite often this injury will occur during one particular step or movement as the athlete attempts to propel themselves and move forwards or upwards quickly”, says Karl Lockett, sports podiatrist at the Sydney Heel Pain Clinic”. What these keen gym junkies do not understand is that quite often some of these injuries could have been avoided with correct intervention of biomechanical anomalies. One of the most common precursors to Achilles tendon rupture is ankle joint dysfunction due to tight , short calf muscles. The tightness in the calf muscles causes an increased load and pulling sensation on the Achilles tendon which if left untreated will eventually lead to Achilles tendon rupture. There are varying degrees of rupture and ultrasound imaging will often reveal micro tears, partial tears or complete rupture of this important weight-bearing tendon.
Who Else Suffers from Achilles Tendon Rupture
Keen athletes are not the only candidates who suffer from these Achilles tendon ruptures. The podiatrists at the Sydney heel pain clinic also treat more sedentary individuals who may only partake in recreational walking. These patients are usually surprised to hear that they have developed an Achilles tendon rupture as they confess to being way too sedentary. Some of these individuals are carrying a few extra kilos in body weight and this in turn creates more stress on the foot and ankle and Achilles tendon. The extent of damage in these individuals may not be as severe as can be seen in the athletic type, and ultrasound imaging or MRI may reveal micro tears or partial tears. A complete Achilles tendon rupture is unlikely and less common in such individuals.
What are the Causes of Achilles Tendon Rupture
One of the most common causes of an Achilles tendon rupture is calf muscle restriction and extreme tightness. These people are the kinds of athletes who fail to perform diligent stretching techniques pre-and post exercise. “This goes to show the importance of calf muscle stretching when maintaining good foot and ankle health, not just to avoid Achilles tendon rupture, but other soft tissue injuries to such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis”, says sports podiatrist Rami Ghorra. “As sports podiatrists we also highly recommend hamstring, quads and glutes stretching pre and post exercise”.
Other causes of Achilles tendon rupture would be the use of non-functional walking shoes or running shoes, which may lead to the calf muscle dysfunction. It can be highly beneficial to have your biomechanics assessed in the podiatry clinic, using video gait analysis and treadmills. This allows the sports podiatrist to recommend specific models of walking shoes or running shoes. Being fitted with the correct brand and model of shoe may sound like a simple solution but this can pay dividends and help you avoid injuries such as Achilles tendon rupture
Achilles Tendon Rupture Treatment
The treatment for an Achilles tendon rupture will involve immobilisation of the affected tendon, which can be achieved a variety of ways. The sports podiatrists at the Sydney heel pain clinic will select one or a combination of treatments based on the severity of the condition. In more recent times shockwave therapy has been used as a treatment to accelerate the healing of an Achilles tendon rupture or less severe, Achilles tendinitis.
In summary, if you feel a tightness in your calf muscles and you want to avoid an Achilles tendon rupture it is crucial that you address the problem sooner rather than later. Prevention is always better than cure. Achilles tendinitis is always one of the warning signs that should also be addressed and not ignored. If you are suffering with Achilles tendinitis this may be a precursor to an Achilles tendon rupture, and good physical assessments and biomechanical analysis would be a great way to avoid this crippling injury.
Sydney Heel Pain Clinic
Written by Karl Lockett