You and Your Achilles Tendon: Here’s What You Should Know

You and Your Achilles Tendon: Here’s What You Should Know

When you live an active life, many parts of your body are involved in your activities. Your achilles tendon is the largest one in your body, located behind each of your legs. 

Although your achilles tendon is big and strong, it’s just as prone to injury as other areas in your body, if not more. There’s some important information you need to know about it to keep it healthy.

At Sports Medicine Associates of San Antonio, our team helps you understand your achilles tendon so you can prevent any injuries. However, if you do injure it, Dr. Marque Allen has the knowledge and skills to get you fast and efficient treatment.

What is your achilles tendon?

Your achilles tendon is located on the posterior aspect of each leg, attaching your heel bone to your calf muscles. It’s a substantial tendon, the biggest in your body and capable of a lot of wear-and-tear.

The achilles tendon goes to work when you use your calf muscles. When they’re flexed, the tendon activates your heel, which allows you to be on your toes when jumping, standing, or walking.

Although it’s an extremely strong and durable tendon, it has a very limited supply of blood. This, along with the high pressure placed on it, makes your achilles tendon very prone to injury.

Types of achilles tendon injuries

When your achilles tendons take on too much pressure, they’re likely to suffer from an injury. There are several types of achilles injuries, including:

Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is considered an overuse injury of the tendon. This means that too much stress has been placed on the tendon, leading to microtears in the tissue. Tendonitis leads to both stiffness and pain in the back of your leg near your heel.

Achilles tendon tear

A tear to your achilles tendon is either acute or chronic, based on how quickly it happened. Tears can be tiny microtears in the tissue, or large tears in the tendon. 

The tear often makes it hard to move your foot and ankle correctly, and causes pain with movement. An acute tear may cause swelling and bruising around the heel.

Achilles tendon rupture

A ruptured achilles tendon happens suddenly, when the tendon splits in half. This often makes a loud pop, followed by intense pain and severe swelling.

If your achilles tendon ruptures, you’ll either need surgery to repair it, or your ankle and lower leg needs to be immobilized for a long time in order for it to heal.

You may also experience bursitis in your achilles tendon at your heel bone. This happens when the tiny sacs of fluid that cushion your heel bone become inflamed. This makes it painful to wear shoes that push on your heel.

Signs and symptoms of an injury

If you’ve suffered an achilles tendon injury, you’ll likely know it. Because it’s a large tendon, it emits a variety of symptoms when it’s hurt, including:

You may also have thickening of your tendon, or bone spurs that also lead to pain and discomfort in your calf and heel. 

If you suffer an achilles tendon rupture, you may hear a pop in your heel followed by excruciating pain. Anytime you experience any of the above symptoms, it’s important that you get treatment from Dr. Allen to alleviate your discomfort and prevent further issues.

Risk factors for achilles tendon injuries

Injuries to your achilles tendons are often due to repetitive stress on them. This can happen for a number of reasons, some of which include:

 

Certain types of work puts increased stress on your tendons as well. This is especially true with laborers and those who aren’t conditioned well and work out hard only a day or two per week.

If you’re at risk for an achilles tendon injury, Dr. Allen helps you understand what you can do to decrease your chances of suffering an injury. This includes wearing the proper footwear during activities and sports, and knowing when to take a break from your activities.

If you do happen to hurt your achilles tendons, Dr. Allen quickly diagnoses the problem and starts you on the road to recovery through customized treatment plans.

If you’re concerned about an achilles tendon injury, don’t hesitate to call either of our two offices in the San Antonio, Texas area today. You can request an appointment online as well.

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