The Achilles tendon is one of the longest tendons in the body and it stretches from the calf muscles all the way down to the heel. The Achilles tendon is the string of tissue that can be felt above the ankle on the back of the heel. This tendon is responsible for our ability to point our toes to the floor or flex and extend our foot. Unfortunately, because it is such a large tendon, it is also more susceptible to injury.
Causes of Achilles Tendon Injury
AIn most cases though inflammation is not the true pathology. In actuality it is tendinosis or degenerative tearing at the microscopic level that occurs and causes pain. In a severe injury, even the slightest pressure put on the tendon could cause it to rupture or tear. There are a variety of other causes for an Achilles tendon injury, including, but not limited to:
- Chronic overuse especially jumping and walking uphill
- Wearing high heels
- Tight leg muscles and tendons
- Increasing your level of physical activity too quickly
- Flat feet (fallen arches), also known as overpronation. In this case, the step causes a collapse of the arch, which stretches the tendons and muscles.
The tendon is more likely to be injured with sudden, quick movements where abrupt muscle tension causes excessive pressure on the tendon.
3 Signs that You Might Have an Achilles Tendon Injury
- There will be pain along the back of the foot and around the heel, especially during stretching exercises or when standing on your tiptoes. In tendinosis
cases, the pain starts minimally, but gradually gets worse over time. The pain is usually worse when you first get up in the morning and initially improves but then worsens as activity continues. A ruptured or torn tendon will cause immediate and intense pain. This might be associated with tenderness, swelling, and stiffness as well.
- Hearing a snap or pop at the time of the injury.
- Difficulty with pointing toes to the floor or extending your foot. This will be nearly impossible with a ruptured or torn Achilles tendon.
The physicians at Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Long Island focus on both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of bone, tendon and joint injuries and are one of the most innovative orthopedic practices in the area. Dr Charles Ruotolo, President of Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, has published several peer-reviewed studies on orthopedic care and orthopedic surgery.
Fortunately, many patients can be treated non-surgically with a combination of conservative modalities coordinated by the Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Team. If surgery is necessary, the practice uses a multidisciplinary approach to create a treatment plan that focuses on the patient’s lifestyle and activities and helps them get back to those activities quickly and effectively. Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine has locations throughout Long Island and Manhattan.