Achilles tendon rupture
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body. It connects the calf muscles to the heel, and plays an important role in the progress of the step during walking and running, as well as in the propulsion phase of the step.
This tendon, of enormous resistance, is also poorly vascularized, exposing it to significant risks of injury. Over time and/or repeated stresses, the filaments of this tendon can weaken and the tendon can then rupture suddenly during an effort. This is called a ruptured Achilles tendon.
1) WHAT IS AN ACHILLES TENDON RUPTURE? WHAT ARE THE LESION MECHANISMS?
This pathology can occur in sports patients of any age. However, this injury
seems to mainly affect middle-aged male athletes (forties).
Risk factors :
- The type of sport (intensive with sprints and jumps)
- An existing tendinopathy
- The dehydration
- Fatigue and overtraining
The pain felt by the patient undergoing a rupture of the Achilles tendon is quite sharp and acute in the calf, with irradiations that can sometimes go up to the thigh or the lower back. She is described as
We can sometimes observe a hollow forming at the level of the heel, and an effusion can form at the back of the ankle.
2) IS IT SERIOUS?
The importance of the lesion can vary, ranging from the tearing of certain fibers to the complete rupture of the structure. It is still a serious injury that will require professional follow-up.
The diagnosis is then based on the clinical examination, which generally makes it possible to determine the severity, and is confirmed by an ultrasound.
It is interesting to note that from one case to another, the physical handicap as well as the pain can vary. For example, some victims manage to walk, even with difficulty. On the other hand, it will be impossible for him to stand on tiptoe.
It is all of these results that determine the severity as well as the therapeutic approach, whether surgical or not. The healing time also depends on the size of the lesion, its location and the speed of treatment.
3) IS SURGERY MANDATORY?
Surgical treatment can be offered to sports and/or active patients. It allows to reduce the immobilization time, a faster recovery and a reduced recurrence rate.
The conservative treatment has nevertheless developed in recent years seems to show interesting results, even if the delays are generally prolonged.
The decision to operate or not will therefore be made following a discussion with the orthopedist in charge of your case.
4) HOW DOES THE REHABILITATION TAKE PLACE?
Conservative and post-operative treatment are similar on many points. It will start with the placement of a boot immobilizing the ankle for a period of 6 weeks, in order to allow time for the tendon to heal.
When it is removed, support is again authorized with a heel pad, the thickness of which gradually decreases over 3 weeks. Rehabilitation begins at the same time with the physiotherapist.
While respecting the healing process, the work will focus on:
Recovery of normal joint amplitudes
Gradual rehabilitation of the joint
Recovery of a correct gait pattern (about 2 months)
Overall muscle strengthening (strength, neuromuscular control, stability, etc.)
Re-athletics and getting back into sport (return to competition at +/- 8 months)
5) CAN I CONTINUE TRAINING?
In the event of an Achilles tendon rupture, it is essential to stop sporting activity in order not to aggravate the situation.
Consulting a health professional then makes it possible to determine the procedure to follow in order to return to your sports practice as quickly as possible in complete safety.
6) WILL I RETURN TO MY PRE-INJURY LEVEL?
This pathology is important and needs to be taken seriously from the start. However, provided you follow the instructions and recommendations given by your surgeon and your therapist, you will more than likely regain your level in a few months (7 to 9 generally)!
7) WHAT CAN I DO TO SPEED UP THE PROCESS?
In order to speed up the healing process, be sure to follow the recommendations of the health professionals you work with as much as possible. Laziness or, on the contrary, overzealousness, will be your enemies.
Conversely, discipline, rigor, perseverance as well as a positive and voluntary state of mind will help you get back in top shape as soon as possible!