The Achilles tendon is the longest tendon of the body and traverses behind the leg and joins the calf muscles to the heel bone. The Achilles tendon along with the calf muscles allows flexion of the foot and the knee. The Achilles tendon is extremely strong but due to its location and constant use of the lower extremities makes this tendon vulnerable for injuries.
Athletes and ballet dancers are most at risk for damaging the Achilles tendon as they put immense stress on the ankle and calf region. Individuals who are not into any type of sports or are not ballet dancers tend to damage their Achilles tendon by wearing unsupportive footwear, by twisting the ankle, or doing an exercise routine involving the calf or ankle aggressively without proper warm up.
How Do You Know If You Have Damaged The Achilles Tendon?
Whether an individual is an athlete or not it is extremely important to know whether there is any damage done to the Achilles tendon. The primary presenting feature of a damaged Achilles tendon is pain and stiffness behind the heel. This pain tends to get worse when any pressure is applied on the calf or heel and gets better with rest. The pain tends to be worse in the morning and gets better as the day goes on.
An individual with a damaged Achilles tendon will also have pain a day after doing any strenuous activity involving the calf and the ankle or heel like standing on the feet all day. People with a damaged Achilles tendon may also feel a bump or a lump behind the leg in the heel or the calf area along the tendon. A damaged Achilles tendon will also cause restriction in range of motion of the ankle and calf and will make ambulation painful.
Any rotation of the ankle will also be restricted and painful as a result of a damaged Achilles tendon. Flexing of the foot is also extremely difficult in individuals with a damaged Achilles tendon.
Individuals with damaged Achilles tendon also will have noticeable swelling along the tendon area which will worsen with any activity and tends to get better with rest. There may also be presence of a bone spur around the heel region in individuals with a damaged Achilles tendon.
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