What is Achilles Tendon rapture?

What is Achilles Tendon rapture?

Eric Munene • 12:21 - 17.05.2024

Pulse Sports highlights why an an Achilles Tendon rapture is one of the most feared injuries in sports.

In the fast-paced realm of sports, injuries are an unfortunate reality that can dramatically alter the trajectory of athletes' careers.

Injuries have stripped the world off of promising talent and has also discontinued journeys for some of the greatest footballers. From football legends who were forced to quit like Brazil legend Ronaldo to modern day footballers.

Among the most dreaded and debilitating injuries is the Achilles tendon rupture with a recent example being French international Presnel Kimpembe who has been on the sidelines for over 400 days.

But what exactly is an Achilles tendon rupture, and why does it strike fear into the hearts of athletes and fans alike? Let's delve into this injury that has sidelined some of the world's most prominent athletes and reshaped the landscape of sports competitions.

This Achilles tendon, named after the legendary Greek warrior, is a vital structure connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone, crucial for activities like running, jumping, and pushing off during sports.

This devastating injury occurs when the tendon, which is one of the strongest and largest in the human body, tears or completely snaps, often with a sudden and sharp sensation likened to being struck by a whip.

Like Kimpembe, athletes, particularly those who rely heavily on explosive movements such as sprinting, jumping, or pivoting, an Achilles tendon rupture can be catastrophic. It not only results in immediate pain and disability but also requires extensive rehabilitation and potentially career-altering surgery to regain function and performance.

The treatment of this injury varies depending on the severity. Some need non-surgical treatment, while others need full surgical repairs. Surgery aims to reattach the torn ends of the tendon, usually through an incision made at the back of the ankle.

Surgeons may employ various techniques, such as open surgery or minimally invasive procedures, to repair the tendon. Sometimes, surgeons may reinforce the repair with sutures or use tendon grafts from other parts of the body to augment the strength and stability of the repaired tendon.

Finally, rehabilitation is an inevitable stage in the recovery process. Here, physical therapy typically begins soon after treatment to restore range of motion, strength, and function to the ankle and calf muscles.

Rehabilitation programs are tailored to each individual's needs and may progress from gentle stretching and range of motion exercises to more intense strengthening and functional exercises over time.