An Achilles tendon rupture is among the most difficult injuries for a professional athlete to recover.
“What is an Achilles tendon?” you may ask. Foot Health Facts describes it as a tendon that “runs down the back of the lower leg and connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Also called the ‘heel cord’, the Achilles tendon facilitates walking by helping to raise the heel off the ground.”
Many remember when NBA star Kobe Bryant ruptured his Achilles tendon in August 2013.
Bryant eventually returned to the court, but not until after eight months of strict physical therapy. Return to play often takes between six to nine months for an active, healthy young adult.
What might this feel like if it happens to you? You may feel a “snap” or “pop” in your heel and experience sudden pain that feels like a kick or stab. Eventually it will subside to a dull ache, but you will encounter difficulty walking and raising up on your toes.
The best thing to do until you can see a doctor is the R.I.C.E. method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
Be forewarned: Surgery is often the best option for active patients seeking to return to the playing field. Doing so often decreases the chance of a re-rupture and can give the patient more strength and better function in the heel and ankle.
Visit Foot Health Facts for more information on Achilles tendon ruptures.