Achilles Tendon Injuries

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Winter sports enthusiasts such as skiers, in addition to those who play soccer, volleyball, softball and racquet sports, are particularly susceptible to Achilles tendon injuries. Why? The Achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord behind the ankle that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. When this tendon is overused, or too much stress is applied to the Achilles, it leads to pain and injury.

Thankfully, for patients of Achilles tendon injuries, OrthoAspen provides comprehensive care at the hands of expert, elite-grade specialists in foot and ankle orthopedic issues—including emergency care.

Causes & Symptoms

While Aspen patients who enjoy winter sports, tennis and soccer may experience Achilles tendon injuries, those who are involved in gymnastics, football and basketball are also at risk for Achilles tendon problems.

Two of the most common Achilles tendon injuries include:

  1. Achilles Tendonitis
    Achilles tendonitis is an abrupt onset of inflammation of the Achilles Tendon. Once the condition develops, it may take around six weeks to fully recover.
  2. Achilles tendon rupture
    When the Achilles tendon ruptures, severe pain occurs in the back of the leg above the heel, accompanied by swelling, stiffness and difficulty standing on tiptoe or pushing the leg when walking. A popping or snapping sound may be heard when the injury occurs.

In addition to pain, swelling and stiffness that occur from a tendon rupture, the following symptoms may indicate the presence of an Achilles tendon injury:

  • Pronounced pain in the Achilles tendon in the early morning
  • Acute pain that becomes worse with increase in activity
  • Progressive thickening of the Achilles tendon
  • Increased swelling as the day progresses
Diagnosis

It’s our goal at OrthoAspen to ensure that our patients can return to their active lifestyle and favorite sports as quickly and safely as possible. Our physicians will always conduct a thorough physical examination, in addition to going over your past and current medical state and any health conditions you may have.

Your doctor may also check for a gap or depression in the tendon, just above heel bone, gently squeezing the calf muscles. If the Achilles tendon is intact, there will be flexion movement of the foot, if it is ruptured, there will be no movement observed.

Treatment

Since it’s also our commitment to treat our OrthoAspen patients as conservatively as possible, an Achilles tendon rupture will be treated utilizing non-surgical methods such as:

  • Wearing a cast or special brace which lifts your heel
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Transitioning to physical therapy when the doctor deems it appropriate

In the event that an Achilles tendon injury simply can’t be addressed utilizing non-surgical modalities, an OrthoAspen surgeon will:

  • Surgically suture the torn tendon together
  • Recommend physical therapy to aid in the recovery process
Prevention

To help prevent an Achilles tendon injury, our OrthoAspen specialists suggest stretching and warm-up exercises before participating in any exercises or sports activities. Gradually increase the intensity and length of time of activity. Muscle conditioning may help to strengthen the muscles in the body.

If you’re concerned that you may have experienced an Achilles tendon injury or would like to know more about the services we offer at OrthoAspen, please click here or call us now at 970-544-1289.

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Visit OrthoAspen in two convenient locations
Aspen Clinic
Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Creek Rd., Suite 2100,

Aspen, CO 81611
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1110
Basalt Clinic
Midvalley Medical Center
1450 E. Valley Rd., Suite 201,

Basalt, CO 81621
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1110