Some Useful Information about the Achilles Tendon and its Injuries

Some Useful Information about the Achilles Tendon and its Injuries

Most people (not only doctors and athletes) have heard of the term “Achilles heel or tendon”. But while we associate this term with the ancient Greek hero, we should get a little more familiar with this part of the human body. Of course, this text is primarily intended for athletes, although it can be useful for everyone. For this reason, we will try to list some useful tips about the Achilles tendon and its injuries.

Anatomy and function

Achilles tendon anatomy

The very fact that this tendon is connected to the heel clearly speaks of its localization. In other words, the Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle (on the lower leg) to the heel bone. It is located just under the skin, on the back of our article.
Otherwise, its function is to support the contractions between these two parts and to enable normal walking, running, jumping and climbing.

Achilles tendon and its injuries

Although it is one of the strongest tendons in the body, it can also be easily injured. The end result of the injury is “Tendinitis”, which is, in fact, a consequence of excessive stretching. The tendon becomes swollen, painful and its flexibility decreases. If this condition is not treated, it can become chronic and very painful. It also happens that these microtraumas lead to tearing or rupture of the entire tendon. Of course, this happens due to the action of strong force and stretching during exercise. However, this tear can also appear in a completely healthy tendon, quite suddenly, due to great overexertion. Very often, the person who experiences this, states that a crack was heard in the joint itself, severe pain and swelling occurred.
If this condition is not treated, it can lead to permanent disability.

Post-injury treatment

Achilles tendon injury

The repair of a torn tendon consists of operative treatment and strict rest afterwards. For this reason, in order to ensure complete rest, a cast is placed after the operation. Recovery time is individual, ie different for each person. Recovery may take up to 6 months.
However, we must note that not all patients are suitable for surgery, for various reasons. For example, surgery is excluded for people with poor circulation, heart patients, and elderly people.

How to save your Achilles tendon

1. Choose your running shoes carefully. Remember that they provide support for your feet, legs and, ultimately, your whole body. However, you should also know that even the best sneakers will not protect you from injury if you are not aware of your own limitations.

2. Warm up well before running. First, start walking. Because it is better to spend 2-3 minutes walking than 6 months lying in bed.

3. Stretch your calf muscles often.

Calf muscles stretch

4. Gradually increase the length and intensity of running, no more than 10% per week.

5. Avoid explosive sprints if you are not used to them. And, if you have such experience, warm up well even then.

6. Use the last 5 minutes of exercise to properly cool down the body.