The Achilles tendon is regarded as the most powerful tendon in the body. The tendon attaches your calf muscles on the heel bone, therefore transmits the loads in the calf to the foot for running and walking. One significant physiological problem with the Achilles tendon would be that it plus the calf muscles are a two-joint design. This means that the tendon and the calf muscles passes across two joints – the knee joint and also the ankle joint. When in the course of exercise the 2 joints are moving in opposite directions, in this case the ankle is dorsiflexing at the same time that the knee is extending, then the force on the tendon is actually excessive and if there is some weakness or issue with the tendon it might tear or rupture. This can happen in sporting activities for example basketball or badminton where there is a rapid stop and start movement.
Once the Achilles tendon should rupture it may be rather dramatic. Occasionally there's an discernable snap, although in other cases there might be no pain and the athlete merely falls to the ground while they loose all power from the calf muscles through to the foot. There are several videos of the Achilles tendon rupturing in athletes accessible in places like YouTube. A straightforward search there will probably find them. The video clips indicate just how extraordinary the rupture is, precisely how simple it seems to take place and exactly how immediately debilitating it is in the athlete as soon as it happens. Clinically a rupture of the Achilles tendon is quite apparent to diagnose and evaluate, as whenever they contract the calf muscles, the foot won't move. While standing they are unable to raise on to the toes. The Thompson test is a check that whenever the calf muscle is squeezed, then the foot should plantarflex. When the tendon is torn, then this doesn't occur.
The first-aid treatment for an Achilles tendon rupture is ice and pain alleviation and also for the athlete to get off the leg, normally in a walking brace or splint. There are actually mixed thoughts on the definitive treatment for an Achilles tendon rupture. One choice is surgical, and the alternative option is to using a walking splint. The studies reviewing the 2 options is quite obvious in demonstrating that there is no distinction between the two concerning the long term results, so that you can be relaxed in knowing that whichever treatment is used, then the long terms consequences are the same. In the short term, the surgical approach should get the athlete back in sport more rapidly, however as always, any surgical procedure does have a little anaesthetic risk as well as surgical site infection risk. That risk should be weighed against the desire to get back to the activity quicker.
What is probably more significant in comparison to the selection of the operative or non-surgical treatment is the rehab following. The evidence is extremely obvious that the quicker standing and walking and motion is carried out, the greater the outcome. This really needs to be undertaken progressively and slowly to enable the tendon and also the calf muscles to build up strength prior to the resumption of sporting activity.