The Achilles tendon is fibrous tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Although it is the largest and strongest tendon in the body, it is also the most frequently injured tendon we see.
The most common Achilles tendon injuries are Achilles tendinitis/tendinosis and Achilles tendon rupture.
Achilles tendinitis is a soreness and stiffness that comes on gradually and can continue to get worse until treated. Lightly pinching the Achilles tendon with the forefinger and thumb will indicate soreness.
Any number of events can trigger an attack of Achilles tendinitis including: rapidly increasing your running mileage or speed, adding hill running or stair climbing to your training program, or just starting up too quickly with an exercise program after not training regularly for a period of time.
Treatment for Achilles tendinistis includes: rest, muscle strengthening, physical therapies, and ice.
Achilles Tendon Rupture
A complete rupture of the Achilles tendon classically occurs in athletes in their 30’s to 50’s while playing sports. The patient often describes a sudden onset of pain in the Achilles region immediately followed by diminished function. The patient will often describe a feeling of getting kicked or hit in the back of the leg. The patient may even hear a snap or tearing sound when the injury occurs.
Treatment for an Achilles rupture includes complete immobilization, or in more severe cases, surgery.