Injuries of the Achilles Tendon

We’re not sure this headline could be any more brutally honest: “Say Goodbye to Kevin Durant as you Knew Him” proclaims bleacherreport.com, a website that serves the sports world and its fans. Kevin Durant is a forward for the Golden State Warriors basketball team. The multiple MVP is highly regarded as one of basketball’s greatest players.

Well, perhaps he’s not anymore, suggests the online article. Durant underwent surgery a couple of weeks ago to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon. In sports, a ruptured Achilles isn’t just a season-ending injury; it can be a career-ending one.

What’s so bad about a ruptured Achilles?

Tendons tear all the time, especially in pro sports. However, the Achilles tendon is rather special. First, it’s the longest, thickest tendon in the human body. Secondly, it plays an enormous role in our ability to stand and jump off our toes. It connects our heel bone to the muscles in our calf. Because the Achilles tendon’s so big and so important, when it tears, it’s no small injury. As the online article argues, athletes who suffer a ruptured Achilles tendon may never return to their former elite level of athleticism.

Achilles tendinitis is no picnic, either

Among regular folks and amateur athletes, an injury to the Achilles tendon is more likely to be tendinitis than a complete rupture. Tendinitis means inflammation of a tendon. The Achilles can become inflamed through:

  • overuse – repetitive movements or too much activity all at once.
  • degeneration – the breaking down of tissue that comes with age and use.
  • not enough stretching before and after exercise.
  • stretching too abruptly, such as with a forceful landing.

How to treat an injured Achilles

Like Kevin Durant, you may need surgery to fix a torn Achilles. If the tendon is only inflamed, there are many conservative approaches to healing it, including prescription anti-inflammatory medications, rest, icing, and wearing an immobilization boot.

If you have pain behind and above your heel that won’t go away, pain or stiffness in your lower calf when you get up in the morning, or persistent swelling in the back lower calf area, make an appointment for an exam with Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey, the qualified foot surgeons at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland. We gladly welcome patients from Geauga, Portage, Summit, and Cuyahoga Counties. Call us in Solon, Ohio at (440) 903-1041 or contact us online.