You don't have to be a mythological Greek hero to suffer from a tragic Achilles injury. As the strongest tendon in the human body, the Achilles tendon connects heel of the foot to the calf and lower leg muscles. The Achilles tendon serves to facilitate movement that involves the legs such as walking and running. Due to the prime importance of this tendon, if there are any injuries incurred they should be addressed immediately with a physician. The Achilles tendon is at risk for Achilles tendinitis, which is an injury often diagnosed via MRI. Achilles tendinitis contains the following symptoms: an increased flow of blood to the tendon, thickening of the tendon, inflammation, pain ranging from dull to severe and slower movement time. An Achilles tendon rupture is caused by the tendon ripping or completely snapping, with the symptoms becoming more immediate and painful. If a rupture or tear is incurred, there are both operative and non-operative methods available. Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment and recovery time for Achilles tendon ruptures may take up to a year. While no injury is completely unavoidable, there are preventative measures that can be taken to minimize the chances. Stretching out the tendon before and after exercise is a great way to stimulate the tissue. Exercises such as calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses are excellent ways to help strengthen the lower legs and Achilles tendon. People who overexert themselves during physical activity, especially athletes, are at a bigger risk for these injuries. When exercising, try to be on a cushioned surface such as a mat, as this can relieve heel pressure. Wearing occasion-appropriate footwear can also decrease tendon injuries. As with the entire body, a healthy diet also increases tendon health while decreasing the risks associated with obesity. About Neville Foot & Ankle: We offer an experienced team of medical and surgical specialists of the foot and ankle. As licensed podiatrists, we believe our patients deserve to have the information necessary to make good choices about their foot and ankle care.
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