While the story of Achilles may be a myth, the idea of the “Achilles heel” is not. Your Achilles tendon connects your calf to your heel. It is one of the largest tendons in the body and used in every step we take.
What are the most common injuries to the Achilles tendon?
The Achilles is susceptible to both daily wear-and-tear, as well as acute ruptures.
Achilles tendonitis is the most common, which is caused by overuse. If not allowed to heal properly, this progresses to further tendon breakdown. A broken-down or damaged tendon (tendonosis) can lead to a partial or complete rupture.
In an Achilles tendon rupture, the tendon tears or “snaps”. This often happens during sports, but it can also happen during everyday walking. Patients will often hear a pop when this happens and have immediate pain. However, many ruptures or tears cause little symptoms.
Symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture include:
– A severe pain in the back of your leg or ankle
– Pain and swelling at the back of your heel, or a few inches above it
– The inability to flex your foot down
– The inability to stand on your toes on the injured side
What happens during an Achilles tendon repair procedure?
An Achilles tendon repair is intended to restore function to the calf muscles of the affected leg. During this procedure, we use sutures to tie them back together. In some cases where the torn tissue is more severely damaged, a lengthening or graft procedure is needed.
The most important point: your Achilles tendon is important, and pain should never be ignored.