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The Management of Achilles Tendon Ruptures

The Management of Achilles Tendon Ruptures

The Achilles tendon is regarded as the strongest tendon in the body. It connects your calf muscles on the heel bone, so transfers the forces from the calf muscles through to the feet for walking and running. One considerable anatomical problem with this Achilles tendon would be that it plus the leg muscles are a two-joint design. Which means that the Achilles tendon along with the calf muscles traverses two joints – the knee and also the ankle joint. If in the course of activity the 2 joints are moving in opposing directions, in this instance the ankle joint is dorsiflexing simultaneously that the knee joint will be extending, then the stress on the tendon is relatively higher and when there may be some weakness or problem with the tendon it might rip or rupture. This would happen in sporting activities like basketball or volleyball where there are lot of quick stop and start activity.

If the Achilles tendon does rupture it could be very dramatic. In some cases there's an audible snap, but other times there may be no pain and the athlete simply collapses to the ground since they loose all strength in the calf muscles through to the foot. There are several video clips of the tendon rupturing in athletes available in places like YouTube. A simple search there will locate them. The videos clearly show how extraordinary the rupture is, precisely how simple it seems to happen and exactly how straight away debilitating it is in the athlete when it occurs. Clinically a rupture of the Achilles tendon is fairly obvious to diagnose and assess, as once they contract the calf muscles, the foot isn't going to move. When standing they are unable to raise on to the toes. The Thompson test is a check that whenever the calf muscle is squeezed, then the foot ought to plantarflex. When the Achilles tendon is torn, then this does not occur.

The first aid treatment for an Achilles tendon rupture is ice and pain alleviation as well as the athlete to get off the leg, commonly in a walking brace or splint. There are mixed experiences on the ideal treatment for an Achilles tendon rupture. One option is surgical, and the alternative option is to using a walking brace. The studies looking at the 2 choices is pretty obvious in indicating that there is no contrast between the 2 about the long term outcomes, so you can be secure in knowing that whichever treatment solution is used, then the long terms results are identical. For the short term, the surgical treatment will get the athlete back in sport more quickly, however as always, any surgery treatment may have a small anaesthetic risk as well as surgical wound infection risk. That risk should be weighed against the call to return to the activity quicker.

What is probably more important than the choice of the operative or non-surgical therapy is the rehabilitation immediately after. The research is very obvious that the quicker standing and walking and movement is carried out, the more effective the outcome. This must be carried out progressively and slowly but surely allowing the Achilles tendon and also the muscle to build up strength ahead of the resumption of sporting activity.

Mary Mack