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The Achilles tendon, or tendon calcaneus, is a large ropelike band of fibrous tissue in the back of the ankle that connects the powerful calf muscles to the heel bone (calcaneus). Sometimes called the heel cord, it is the largest tendon in the human body. When the calf muscles contract, the Achilles tendon is tightened, pulling the heel. This allows you to point your foot and stand on tiptoe. It is vital to such activities as walking, running, and jumping. A complete tear through the tendon, which usually occurs about 2 inches above the heel bone, is called an Achilles tendon rupture.
How is Achilles Tendon Rupture diagnosed?
There is a sudden pain behind the ankle. Physical examination shows a gap in the tendon and squeezing the calf muscle does not result in movement of the foot.
X-rays are usually performed to evaluate for other possible conditions. A MRI scan is needed to evaluate for the severity of the tear within the tendon.
What are the causes of Achilles Tendon Rupture?
Rupture most commonly occurs during recreational sports that require bursts of jumping, pivoting, and running. Most often these are tennis, racquetball, basketball, and badminton. The injury can also happen due to sudden trip, stumble or fall from a significant height.
How to prevent the Achilles Tendon Rupture?
Stretch the Achilles tendon before exercise, even at the start of the day helps to maintain flexibility in the ankle joint. Problems with foot mechanics can also be treated with devices inserted into the shoes such as heel cups, arch supports, and custom orthotics.
What are the treatments for Achilles Tendon Rupture?
Temporary treatment include icing the area by applying ice to the area of inflammation to help stimulate blood flow to the area, and relieve the pain associated with inflammation. However surgery is needed to repair the ruptured tendon. Post operatively, patients would require physio-therapy where physical therapists can help formulate a stretching and rehabilitation program to improve the flexibility of the Achilles tendon.
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