Guide to NFL Injuries: Achilles tendon injuries and tears

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An Achilles tendon tear is typically a single, sudden traumatic event. For player may be running and come to a sudden stop, pivot quickly mid-stride to change direction, straining and tearing the tendon. A player may feel or hear a “pop” when the tear occurs, followed by strong, sudden pain.

A rupture tends to occur in the section of the tendon situated within 2 1/2 inches of the point where it attaches to the heel bone. The area might be prone to rupture because blood flow is poor, which also can impair its ability to heal.

Players in sports that involve sprints, sharp stop and starts, and pivots such as football, baseball, basketball and tennis are most susceptible.

Achilles_Tendon_Tear

Symptoms

Pain, possibly severe, and swelling near the heel; inability to bend the foot downward or “push off” the injured leg when walking; inability to stand on the toes on the injured leg

Diagnosis

The doctor may have a player kneel on a chair or lie on his/her stomach with feet hanging over the end of the exam table. The doctor may squeeze your calf muscle to see if your foot will automatically flex. If it doesn’t, it’s probably a ruptured Achilles tendon.

If there’s a question about the extent of your Achilles tendon injury — whether it’s completely or only partially ruptured — an ultrasound or MRI scan may be needed.

Treatment

Rest; Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); Orthotic devices.; Night splints; Bracing or casting;Transdermal nitroglycerin patches; Physical therapy; Stretching and eccentric strengthening exercises; Cross-friction massage; Therapeutic ultrasound; Iontophoresis; Cold Level Laser Therapy; Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) (NOTE: For full descriptions of the various therapies listed here, visit Sports-Health.)

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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