If you're an athlete, you've undoubtedly heard of torn achilles tendon or ruptured achilles. You know that it is a serious injury, but aren't quite sure what it entails. Unfortunately, this lack of knowledge could help contribute to your own injury. Here's what you need to know about this common sports injury.
What Causes An Achilles Tendon Rupture?
The Achilles tendon is the thickest tendon in your body and it connects your foot to the various calf muscles in your body. Its thickness is necessary as it is one of the most used and stretched tendons.
All that strain can cause it to become weak and stretching it beyond its range of motion can cause it to snap. This injury is most common men at nearly 20:1 ratio and is more prominent in people over the age of 30.
Ways that you can rupture your Achilles tendon include:
- Becoming active after a period of inactivity
- Participation in high-impact sports
- Twisting or spraining your ankle
- Starting a new exercise activity
- Tripping or landing hard
The sad truth is that this injury regularly derails the careers of professional athletes who rarely, if ever, come back from it at the peak of their powers.
What Athletes Have Been Impacted By An Achilles Rupture?
One of the most infamous Achilles tendon injuries was in basketball legend Kobe Bryant. During a seven-game stretch in the 2012-13 season, Bryant played all but 16 minutes in a struggle to get his struggling Lakers to the playoffs. Unfortunately, this wear and tear on his body paid its toll.
During a scuffle for the ball, Bryant landed on the ground and felt a sharp popping pain in his ankle. On the ground, he examined his ankle and literally saw the Achilles tendon snap and the top half start to travel up his leg. Desperately trying to drag it back down proved to be ineffective and he was out for the season.
And unfortunately Bryant, who had once been the game's most dominant star, never recovered: in the next season, he was out after six games and was nowhere near the shot-making machine he had been in his prime.
Are There Any Treatments?
Achilles tendon ruptures can be treated, but you're likely to get your full range of motion or athletic skill back. Yes, most people will regain a large amount of it, but the severity of the injury means it will permanently alter the strength and flexibility in your ankle.
Typical treatments including wearing a cast to promote healing (if your tendon didn't completely rupture) to surgery (which fuses the torn tendon together again).
The best way to treat this injury is through prevention. There are a wide variety of ways that you can ensure that it never happens in the first place. These activities are things you should be doing anyway, which makes them especially useful.
What Are The Prevention Methods?
Preventing an Achilles tendon rupture requires taking special care of your ankle through a variety of exercises and exercise tips. The following are the easiest ways that you can keep your Achilles tendon healthy:
- Regularly stretch your calf muscle before exercises
- Never bounce during stretches
- Avoid running on hard or slippery surfaces
- Only increase your exercise intensity by 10% every week to avoid over exertionKeep away from high-impact sports
- Change up your exercises regularly, such as going from jogging to weight lifting, to avoid strain
Prevention and ankle care can help keep your Achilles tendon safe for years to come. If you want to know more about this injury and how you can prevent it, don't hesitate to contact us today. We can help you sort through common misconceptions to get the right treatment.