Term Paper: Achilles Tendon Injury

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Achilles Tendon Rupture

Every time a person takes a step their entire weight is put on their Achilles tendon, but depending on how fast they walk, the terrain they're on, or the length of their stride, the Achilles tendon may be subject to up to 12 times a person's weight. This vital tendon is a very strong, fibrous tissue that connects the muscles located in the lower leg to the heel of the foot. It is also the strongest and thickest tendon in the human body. However, due to strain, overuse, and accidents, there are "over 230,000 Achilles tendon injuries per year in the U.S. alone." ("Everything About Achilles Tendons") While the two most common types of Achilles tendon injuries are tendonosis and tendon rupture, for the sake of this paper, tendon rupture will be discussed. If the Achilles tendon suffers a tear, either partial or full, it is considered to be a tendon rupture, and while it may be painful and affect a person's ability to walk, it is not a life threatening injury.

A rupture in the Achilles tendon can be caused by a number of factors including "Overuse, misalignment, improper footwear, medication side effects, and/or accidents…" ("Everything About Achilles Tendons") the most common way to suffer an Achilles tendon rupture is to have an accident; such as falling from a height, stepping into hole, or other such ways. But while a major accident is a good way to suffer a full Achilles tendon rupture, overuse, suddenly increasing physical activity, or sports injuries are common ways to suffer a partial Achilles tendon rupture.

"Tendons are strong, tough bands of inelastic fibrous connective tissue that connects muscle to the bone. They are the body's highest strength connective tissue [and] consist of elongated cells, minimal ground substance and collagen fibers." ("Everything About Achilles Tendons") the Achilles tendon is located on the back of the lower leg, just above the heel and connects the two calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and the soleus, as well as the plantaris muscle, to the heel. It is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body, but if ruptured the most common treatment is surgery. Whether the rupture is full, or only partial, it is an easy surgery and usually does not effect surrounding tissues.

While tendonosis afflicts a person over time, gradually worsening, an Achilles tendon rupture happens suddenly, is debilitating, and can be accompanied by a "popping" sound. Most people who experience this injury also have severe pain and swelling around the heel, an inability to bend the foot forward, or inability to stand on one's toes. An examination of the heel area may reveal a gap in the tissue just above the heel, or a patient may be asked to lie face down and let their legs hang over the end of the table. The physician can… [END OF PREVIEW]

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