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Can Achilles Tendon Injuries Be Prevented?

An Achilles tendon rupture is a very painful injury that, with more than 230,000 ruptures every year, is becoming even more common.

The Achilles tendon is a band of tissue at the back of the heel connecting the calf muscle to the foot’s heel bone. This tendon helps you to point your toes.

Unlike Achilles tendonitis where the tendon becomes inflamed because of overuse, when the Achilles tendon ruptures it tears either partially or completely. You may hear a popping or snapping noise and feel severe pain instantly, and you may also have swelling or bruising.

Treating an Achilles Tendon Injury

If you have pain at the back of your heel that does not go away, please come see Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM. Many minor Achilles tendon injuries benefit from conservative treatments such as:

  • I.C.E. treatment – Rest the leg and avoid weight bearing; Ice the area frequently for 2-3 days; apply Compression with an elastic bandage; and Elevate the leg.
  • Take anti-inflammatory pain medications like naproxen and ibuprofen with your doctor’s permission.
  • We will fit you with a heel lift or custom-fitted orthotic to protect your Achilles tendon from more stretching.
  • Strengthening and stretching exercises and even physical therapy.

For severe injuries and ruptures, you may need to wear a cast for a period of weeks or even surgery to repair the tendon.

Achilles Tendon Injuries Can Be Prevented

You don’t have to be an athlete to be at risk of an Achilles tendon injury. Those with flat feet or who wear high heels, or individuals with tight muscles and tendons may suffer from this injury even in the absence of a lot of activity.

But those who work out or play certain sports are at a higher risk of this injury. Activities that require quick starts or pivots, or pushing off and lifting your foot, tend to injure the tendon. Some of these are running, gymnastics, dance, football, basketball and tennis. Men over age 30 are particularly susceptible to an Achilles tendon injury, especially if they tend to overdo it periodically or on the weekends.

Whether you work out or not, be smart with your foot and ankle health:

  • Wear good quality footwear appropriate to each activity.
  • Always use proper exercise techniques.
  • Do ankle balance and stretching and strengthening exercises to reduce your risk of tendon injury.
  • Mix your exercises with non-weight bearing activities like swimming and cycling.
  • Rest after each workout.

Contact Us with Any Heel, Ankle or Calf Pain

Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has the right experience to diagnose and treat any type of foot or ankle pain to quickly relieve pain and discomfort. Many treatments and surgeries can be addressed right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. Get help for an Achilles tendon injury today before it worsens!