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    Achilles tendon rupture

    • Overview

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      Achilles tendon rupture affects the back of the lower leg and is commonly seen in individuals who engage in recreational sports. However, it can occur in anyone.

      The Achilles tendon is a robust fibrous cord that connects the muscles in the calf to the heel bone. If the tendon is overstretched, it can tear wholly or partially, resulting in rupture.

      A popping sound followed by a sharp pain in the back of the ankle and lower leg is typical when the Achilles tendon ruptures. This can affect an individual’s ability to walk correctly. Surgery is often necessary to repair the damage, but nonsurgical treatment can also be effective for many people.

    • Symptoms

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      While some individuals may not experience any indications of an Achilles tendon rupture, most typically experience the following symptoms:
      A sensation of being kicked in the calf
      Swelling and pain near the heel, which may be intense
      Difficulty bending the foot downward or pushing off the affected leg while walking
      Inability to stand on the toes of the affected leg
      A popping or snapping noise during the injury

    • When to see a doctor

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      It is crucial to consult a doctor as soon as possible if you hear a popping sound in your heel, mainly if you cannot walk correctly afterwards.

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    • Causes

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      Your Achilles tendon is crucial in helping you move your foot, allowing you to point it downward, rise on your toes, and push off as you walk. It is relied upon virtually every time you move your foot.

      A rupture in the tendon is most commonly found within a section located 2 1/2 inches (roughly 6 centimetres) from where it attaches to the heel bone. This area is more susceptible to rupture due to poor blood flow, which can impair its ability to heal.

      Sudden increases in stress often cause ruptures in the Achilles tendon. Examples include participating in sports that involve jumping and increasing the intensity of such marks, falling from a height, or stepping into a hole.

    • Risk factors

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      There are a multitude of factors that can contribute to an individual’s increased risk of experiencing an Achilles tendon rupture.

      Age. Individuals within the peak age range of 30 to 40 years old are more susceptible to this injury.
      Gender. Men are up to five times more likely to suffer from an Achilles tendon rupture than women.
      Recreational sports involving running, jumping, and sudden stops and starts, such as soccer, basketball, and tennis, can increase one’s risk of Achilles tendon rupture.
      Steroid injections. Doctors sometimes inject steroids into an ankle joint to reduce pain and inflammation. However, this medication can weaken nearby tendons and has been associated with Achilles tendon ruptures.
      Certain antibiotics, specifically Fluoroquinolones like Cipro or Levaquin, have increased the risk of Achilles tendon rupture. It is crucial for individuals to be aware of the potential risks associated with medication use and to consult with their healthcare provider before starting any new medications.
      Excess weight or obesity can put more strain on the tendon and increase the likelihood of injury. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet can decrease the risk of experiencing an Achilles tendon rupture.

    • Prevention

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      If you want to lower your chances of experiencing Achilles tendon problems, here are some helpful tips to follow:

      Make sure you stretch and strengthen your calf muscles regularly. When testing, stop once you feel a pull but do not push to the point of pain. Including calf-strengthening exercises in your routine can help increase the power of your tendons and absorb more force, preventing potential injuries.

      It’s a good idea to vary your exercise routine. Try alternating high-impact sports like running with lower-impact activities such as walking, biking, or swimming. Avoid activities that stress your Achilles tendons, such as hill running or jumping.

      Be mindful of the surfaces you run on. It’s best to avoid or limit running on hard or slippery surfaces. When training in cold weather, dress appropriately and wear well-fitting athletic shoes with sufficient cushioning in the heels.

      Take care to increase your training intensity gradually. Increased distance, duration, or training frequency by more than 10% per week can increase your risk of Achilles tendon injuries.

    • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

    Content Details

    Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

    Last updated on: 07/08/2023