If you are an alumnus of the University of Florida or a fan of the Florida Gators, you'll be disappointed to learn that the team will play without their starting defensive back Marcell Harris for the upcoming season.
The Gators' leading tackler recently suffered a torn Achilles tendon. This tendon, the largest in the body, connects the heel bone to the calf muscles. We use this tendon every day to stand, walk, run and even just go up on our toes.
When this tendon is overstretched, it can tear - or rupture - either completely or partially.
Most people experience pain, possibly severe, and heel swelling when the Achilles tendon is ruptured. You'll be unable to push off the injured leg to take a step and may be unable to bend your foot downward or stand on your toes. Some people actually hear a popping or snapping sound when the tendon tears.
Marcell Harris' injury is severe enough to keep him benched for the whole 2017 season.
Treating an Achilles Tendon Tear
If after an examination we judge that your injury is moderate, we will recommend conservative treatments of resting and icing the area several times a day. You will need to postpone your normal workouts until the tendon is healed completely.
With more acute pain, we may diagnose your injury as a tendon rupture or tear that needs urgent care. Some patients benefit from a non-invasive approach, including wearing a walking boot or a cast to elevate the heel and allow the tendon to heal. The chance of a re-rupture is greater without surgery and the recovery period is longer.
As an alternative we will discuss surgical options with you. Physical therapy is required with both approaches to strengthen both the Achilles tendon and the leg muscles.
You Can Reduce Your Risk of an Achilles Tendon Injury
- A sudden increased stress on the Achilles tendon can cause an injury. Reduce your risk by:
- Wearing appropriate shoes for each physical activity.
- Stopping your workout if you feel tightness or pain in your calf or heel.
- Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts.
- Limiting running on uneven ground or hard surfaces.
- Stretching both before and after exercise.
- Reducing the stress on the Achilles tendon by strengthening and stretching the calf muscle.
Call Us Right Away If You Experience Severe Heel or Calf Pain
Dr. John Schilero, DPM, board certified podiatrist at Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute has extensive experience with diagnosing and treating Achilles tendon tears as well as all types of foot problems and sports injuries. Please call us at 561-694-7776 EXT. 41 to make an appointment at one of our four offices conveniently located in Palm Beach County, FL. You can also request an appointment at the website.