Posts Tagged ‘Achilles tendon’

Weekend Warriors Most Likely to Tear an Achilles Tendon

If you’re a man who exercises mostly on the weekend, a so-called “Weekend Warrior,” you have a higher risk of rupturing your Achilles tendon while playing sports than other Americans.

Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers star basketball player who ruptured his Achilles tendon earlier this month, is in good company, according to a new study of Achilles tendon injuries in the US.Kobe Bryant Achilles injury

Basketball leads to about 1/3 of all Achilles ruptures in the US, followed by tennis (9%) and football (8%), report researchers in the April issue of Foot & Ankle International.

They reviewed 406 records from patients diagnosed with Achilles tendon injuries from August 2000 to December 2010.

On average, the patients who ruptured their Achilles tendon were 46 years old, mostly men (83%), and were injured playing sports (more than 2/3rds).

Older patients (over age 55) and those whose body mass index (BMI) was greater than 30 (considered obese) were more likely to have non-sports related causes and were more likely to not have been diagnosed correctly until more than one month after the injury.

More than 1/3 of the tendon ruptures not caused by sports occurred at work.

When the diagnosis was missed, it was usually because the initial diagnosis was an ankle sprain.

“Delayed diagnosis and treatment have been shown to result in poorer outcomes,” says lead author Steven Raikin, MD, of the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia, PA.

“Older individuals, and those with a higher BMI, should be evaluated carefully if they have lower leg pain or swelling in the Achilles tendon region.”

Re-rupture of the same tendon occurred in 5% of the group, and 6% of the study’s population had previously ruptured the other leg’s tendon.

The study supports previous findings that an Achilles tendon rupture on one leg increases the likelihood of a rupture on the other leg.

When the same tendon was re-ruptured, 85% of those injuries had not been treated surgically earlier.

Signs of an Achilles Rupture

One sign of an Achilles rupture is the inability to stand on your toes.

However, this test is not completely reliable.

Also, when you walk, your foot may turn out to the side.

A ruptured Achilles tendon can be confused with a partial rupture because it may cause little pain at first.

In fact, an Achilles rupture is quite often misdiagnosed.

The only foolproof way to know if you have ruptured this tendon is to lie on your stomach with your foot off the end of a bed, toes pointing down, and have someone squeeze your calf.

The front of the foot normally will move down.

If there is no flex in the foot, then the tendon is torn.

You can also compare the two legs.

Squeeze the uninjured leg first to observe the flexing movement, and then squeeze the injured leg to see whether it moves.

As this new study shows, if you injure your Achilles tendon, getting to a doctor sooner than later will speed your recovery.

How Tiger Woods Can Get Back on the Course

Golfer Tiger Woods has vowed to return to playing competitive golf, but announced this week he plans to take a break until his surgically repaired, sprained knee and aching Achilles tendon have healed completely.

At the PGA tour’s AT&T National at Aronimink Golf Club in Newton Square, PA, Tiger told the media: “It’s up to (the doctors) and obviously my body and how it recovers.

We’re trying to push it every day and challenge my leg and see how it responds.

If it gets better, then we move progressively a bit further.

And if it doesn’t, we either stay there or take a step back.

That’s how rehab goes.

It’s been arduous.”

What kind of rehab is Tiger doing?

No one knows for sure with the notoriously secretive Woods.

But if you had the same injuries, here’s what doctors would likely have you doing.

Tiger reportedly has a sprain in the medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

Rehabilitation for this injury entails using a stationary bicycle and doing leg extensions and curls.

Ride a stationary bicycle for 20 minutes a day with the seat high to minimize range of motion in the knee.

Don’t put any drag on the bike; you’re simply interested in moving the knee.

Gradually lower the seat to increase the bend in your knee until you reach your full range of motion.

Do leg extensions while seated at a bench or a table.

Once you lift the weight, hold at full extension for 3 seconds and then very slowly lower your leg.

Concentrate on the slow movement down, which helps build strength.

Do 5 sets of 10 leg extensions.

Start with no weight and gradually add weight (5 pounds for men, 2.5 pounds for women) until you reach the amount of weight necessary for you to fail during the last set.

Do leg curls while lying on your stomach.

Again, do 5 sets of 10 lifts.

If you use a weight machine, hold for 3 seconds with the leg bent for further strengthening.

The leg exercises are designed to strengthen the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh (leg extension) and the hamstring muscles in the back of the thigh (leg curls).

These are the muscles that control the knee and must be strengthened.

Tiger also reportedly has Achilles tendinitis.

The treatment for this injury is to rest until it feels better.

Then ice the tendon several times a day and take anti-inflammatory agents to relieve swelling and pain.

You can stretch the Achilles tendon with Wall Push-ups.

Place one foot as far away from a wall as you can and still keep your rear heel flat on the ground and the other leg a few inches from the wall.

Bending your elbows, lean into the wall and support yourself with your hands but don’t let your rear heel come off the ground.

Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds and push back up.

Tiger says he’s not going to push it and try to return too soon from his injuries.

That’s good advice for amateurs and pros alike.