The Achilles tendon – the strongest tendon in the body
The Achilles tendon is a tough band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel. The tendon can typically withstand a force equal to eight times your own body weight when running, which clearly shows how important a stable and healthy Achilles tendon is. Symptoms occur most often when the tendon is overworked or generally weak.
Causes of Achilles Tendon Rupture
Sports injuries are the most common cause of ruptures of the Achilles tendon.
Symptoms Achilles Tendon Rupture
The symptoms of a rupture of the Achilles tendon can be:
- When it feels like something has "snapped" or like a "sharp kick or blow" to the leg. This is accompanied by a loss of strength and the inability to actively extend the foot.
- Walking on tiptoes is no longer possible, but there is no severe pain.
- A gap or depression can typically be felt in the course of the tendon and the Achilles tendon reflex can no longer be elicited.
Treatment of Achilles Tendon Rupture
A so-called tendoplasty is performed if the tendon shows severe pre-damage due to wear-and-tear. This is followed by several weeks of immobilization of the leg with the foot in a tiptoe position. After about four to six weeks, the patient starts physiotherapy with progressive correction of the tiptoe position. A low heel lift should be worn for temporary relief of tension on the Achilles tendon.
A tear in the Achilles tendon is often treated conservatively because a torn tendon grows back together on its own. However, there are limitations, as the Achilles tendon usually remains shortened and the transmission of power to the foot cannot be restored 100%. This is why doctors decide to sew the tendon together in some cases.
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