Young professionals involved in various desk and corporate jobs and especially the middle aged men, predominantly those who have been active sportsmen in the past, face many injuries , especially that of the lower leg. This is not confined to one particular race or ethnicity but is a global problem.
Despite being involved in weight training and weekend games off and on, injury and rupture of the Achilles tendon is a common concern.
The weekend warrior, that enjoys high plyometric activity by indulging in weekend activities beyond his strength and training levels, often faces the shot sound of the Achilles tendon snap.
The lower leg consists of two powerful calf muscles- the Soleus and especially the stubbborn Gastrocnemius. The tendon that connects both these muscles to the base of the heel bone – the Calcaneous, is known as the Achilles tendon. Long seated/ standing hours at work, creates hypertonicity in the calf muscles. Sudden plyometric activities causes the hypertonic muscle’s tendon to often rip or snap.
Body adaptation narrowly follows the Principle of Specificity.
Training programs must be in accordance to the targeted activity, achievements required and goals.
‘Training adaptations for an individual will occur specifically to
the muscle groups trained, the intensity of the exercise, the metabolic demands of the exercise, and/or specific movements and activities.’– NSCA
This problem is more pronounced in the males than their female counterparts , perhaps due to greater flexibility levels in the latter. The terminology ‘Achilles Heel ‘ is used by the athletes to refer to the recovering leg, indicative of the disturbed kinematics.
The best remedy usually involves a repair surgery . The orthopaedic surgeons advise the same , depending upon the grade of the tear. Usually post surgery regular rehab treatments are required to deal with the post operative scar tissue, that disturbs the normal ankle biomechanics.
Following are few of the tests involved during the treatment.
- Achilles tendon Total Rupture Score (ATRS),
- Physical Activity Scale (PAS),
- Foot and Ankle Outcome Score (FAOS).
- Limb Symmetry Index (LSI)
Tendon length is evaluated by ultrasonography.
Restoration of proper tendon length and ankle plantar flexion , require regular training, physiotherapy and myofascial release of the scar tissue. Elongated tendon length could pose a problem for the athletes looking at plyometric movements like jumping.