The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body and can withstand forces of 1,000 pounds or more. But it also the most frequently ruptured tendon.
Both professional and weekend athletes can suffer from Achilles tendinitis, a common overuse injury and inflammation of the tendon.
Events that can cause Achilles tendinitis may include:
- Hill running or stair climbing.
- Overuse resulting from the natural lack of flexibility in the calf muscles.
- Rapidly increasing mileage or speed.
- Starting up too quickly after a layoff.
- Trauma caused by sudden and/or hard contraction of the calf muscles when putting out extra effort such as in a final sprint.
Achilles tendinitis often begins with mild pain after exercise or running that gradually worsens. Other symptoms include:
- Recurring localized pain, sometimes severe, along the tendon during or a few hours after running.
- Morning tenderness about an inch and a half above the point where the Achilles tendon is attached to the heel bone.
- Sluggishness in your leg.
- Mild or severe swelling.
- Stiffness that generally diminishes as the tendon warms up with use.
Treatment normally includes:
- A bandage specifically designed to restrict motion of the tendon.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
- Orthoses, which are devices to help support the muscle and relieve stress on the tendon such as a heel pad or shoe insert.
- Rest, and switching to another exercise, such as swimming, that does not stress the tendon.
- Stretching, massage, ultrasound and appropriate exercises to strengthen the weak muscle group in front of the leg and the upward foot flexors.
In extreme cases, surgery is performed to remove the fibrous tissue and repair any tears.
Peroneal Tendon Dislocation/Dysfunction
The Peroneal tendons are two tendons whose muscles (Peroneus Brevis and Peroneus Longus) that originate on the outside of the calves. These two muscles allow you to roll to the outside of the foot while standing.
Also called "stirrup" tendons because they help hold up the arch of the foot, the muscles are held in place by a band of tissue called the peroneal retinaculum. Injury to the retinaculum can cause it to stretch or even tear. When this happens, the peroneal tendons can dislocate from their groove on the back of the fibula. The tendons can be seen to roll over the outside of the fibula, damaging the tendons.
Snow skiing, football, basketball, and soccer are the most common sports activities that can result in peroneal tendon dislocation. Ankle sprains have also known to lead to the condition.
Patients usually have to use crutches after such an injury, in order to allow the strain to heal. Sometimes, a splint or compression bandage is applied to decrease swelling. Anti-inflammatory medications and ice also supplement treatment. Consult your physician before taking any medications.
Surgery can be prescribed with moderate to severe injuries that cause the peroneal retinaculum to be torn or severely stretched to a point that the peroneal tendons will easily dislocate.