Preventing an Achilles Tendon Rupture
- Posted on: Jul 15 2016
Your Achilles tendon is a large, strong, fibrous cord that connects muscles in the lower part of your calf to your heel bone, affecting the lower back of your leg. This rupture most often occurs when the tendon becomes inflexible or overworked, and it is prevalent in people who play recreational sports.
Signs of Rupture
When you rupture your Achilles tendon, you may hear or feel a pop or a snapping sound. This is then accompanied by sudden, sharp pain at the back of your ankle and lower leg which will make it difficult to walk. When this happens, your doctor may recommend surgery, which is usually the best course of treatment to repair the rupture. Sometimes, however, there are non-surgical methods that also work well.
Risk Factors for an Achilles Tendon Rupture
The following are the most common reasons an Achilles tendon rupture occurs:
- Age. Most Achilles tendon ruptures happen in individuals between 30-40 years of age.
- Gender. Men are five times more likely than women to rupture their Achilles tendon.
- Antibiotics. A class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolone contains the drug Cipro, which has been shown to increase the risk of tendon rupture. It is unclear why exactly this group of antibiotics causes tendons to rupture, but some research suggests that it may hinder collagen formation and impede blood supply to joints.
- Sports. Any recreational sport that involves running, jumping and quick starts and stops puts you at risk for an Achilles tendon rupture.
- Steroids. While steroid injections are a great way to relieve pain and inflammation to certain joints, they have also been known to make the surrounding tendons weaker and more prone to a rupture.
How to Avoid a Ruptured Achilles Tendon
Follow these guidelines to reduce your risk of a tendon rupture:
- Don’t forget to stretch. Calf-strengthening exercises are a good way to help your tendons and muscles to endure more force and lower your chance of injury. To be effective, stretch your calf to the point where you feel a significant pull without pain, and be sure to avoid bouncing while you stretch.
- Mix it up. Vary your activity between high- and low-impact sports like swimming, walking or biking
- Take it slow. Don’t begin an exercise routine full-force. Take it little by little, gradually increasing duration and resistance, to avoid injury.
For more information about avoiding Achilles tendon rupture, or to schedule an appointment, contact us or by calling 310.651.2366.
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