Every single step you take, each time you reach up high on your tip toes or squat down low, you engage your Achilles tendon, the tough band of fibrous tissue that connects your heel to your calf muscle. It plays a role in all of the movements of your foot, and according to the Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, it’s a tendon that can withstand up to 1,000 pounds of force.
Just ask Dominique Wilkins or David Beckham, though. All it takes is one wrong step to damage or tear your Achilles, sidelining you for the long haul.
The Achilles tendon, while strong, is also vulnerable to many different types of painful injuries. From Achilles tendonitis, an overuse injury characterized by pain, swelling, and inflammation of the tendon to an Achilles tendon rupture, a partial or complete tear that can occur when the tendon is stretched beyond its limit, injuries to this part of the body are debilitating and often require immediate care by an experienced orthopedic surgeon.
To protect your Achilles tendon from injuries:
- Keep it flexible. Stretching your calf muscle prevents the tendon from getting tight enough to tear.
- Warm up before workouts. Light warm-ups can heat up muscles and tendons, making them less likely to strain and tear.
- Arm yourself with the right shoes. Supporting your foot, ankle, and heel with proper shoes keeps your Achilles tendon protected.
- Indulge in massage. Massage may help to loosen up tight tendons and soothe any aches or pains from overuse.
- Amp up your leg and calf workouts. Bulking up your calf and leg muscles offer additional protection for a vulnerable Achilles tendon.
If your Achilles tendon does suffer a blow, contact Ortho Sport & Spine Physicians. Our top-ranked staff is certified and trained to help treat and repair an Achilles injury, and we’ll be there throughout the recovery process to help ensure that you get back in the game. Give us a call today.
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