Achilles tendon rupture is not only a condition that has to be worried about for the high end athlete but also the weekend warrior, and aging athlete. The peak age for achilles tendon rupture is 30 to 40 years old. This is due to a variety of factors however top risk factors as we age are an increase in weight accompanied with a decrease in elasticity, and blood flow to the achilles tendon.

However there are additional risk factors that one should consider at any age. These include activities that involve running, jumping, or sudden starts and stops. This often happens during certain sports such as jumping to catch a pass in football, accelerating quickly in basketball, and jumping to block a hit in volleyball. Obesity also can play a role in achilles ruptures as the additional weight will put more strain on the achilles while performing certain exercises.

Steroid injections also weaken tendons, for this reason if you have a cortisone injection into the foot and ankle if near the achilles even if not directly into the tendon, there is an increased risk of rupture. Finally certain antibiotics under the fluoroquinolone family can increase risk of rupture. The key with these general risk factors is to separate the out. If a person is on a fluoroquinolone antibiotic or has recently had a cortisone injection it would be advised to stop exercise that strains the achilles tendon for a period of time. In addition if one is obese it would be advised that they start with low intensity exercises to lose the weight before directly jumping into high impact activities.

If you are participating in an activity in a competitive environment, and you are taking precautions as described above there are still additional steps that should be taken. First it is important to stretch and strengthen calf muscles regularly.

When strengthening or exercising using the calf muscle start off slowly and slowly increase the intensity of the exercise rather than jumping directly into very strenuous exercises. Choose proper shoe gear for the proper environment in order to prevent slipping or falling that may increase strain on the achilles, avoid running in ice and snow if possible. Finally try to alternate between high impact and low impact activities.

Achilles tendon rupture is indicated when you hear and or feel a pop in the back of your calf. Often accompanied with a feeling of being kicked in the calf. Followed by an inability to raise one’s body weight with the calf. However you may also partially rupture or tear the achilles, as well as my have an injury to the heel bone or surrounding structures. This can often be delineated by a visit with a podiatrist. In addition achilles ruptures can be prevented by preventing a podiatrist. If you are feeling pain in the back of your calf, or at the heel imaging can be performed looking for calcification of the tendon, which may increase your chance of rupture.

Hopefully after reading this article you understand that achilles tendon ruptures like many other injuries can often be prevented. Rather that be from stretching, weight loss, or by visiting a podiatrist. This is vital to understand as prevention is allot easier than treating a ruptured tendon.