The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone which allows us to be able to push off as we walk and run. An injury can occur to anyone, anywhere, whether you’re a high level athlete or you were just going on about your daily activities. The two most common pathologies for Achilles pain is either a rupture or tendonitis. A complete or partial tear normally occurs when the tendon is stretched further than its normal capacity. This can happen through excessive force such as jumping, quick pivot motions, or a sudden burst from walking to running. Achilles tendon injuries tend to occur more often in middle aged individuals. If you are experiencing stiffness or burning sensations in the heel when you are doing any weight bearing activities it may be possible you have sustained a tear to your Achilles tendon.
Risk Factors for an Achilles Tendon Injury Include:
- Recent increase in intensity, frequency, or duration of physical activity
- Not taking proper recovery time between bouts of intense physical activity
- Wearing shoes that have insufficient amount of support or allowing for excessive pronation
- Having tight calf muscles
- Decreased range of motion in the ankle joint
- Running on uneven ground or hard surfaces
- Not properly warming up, cooling down, and stretching after physical activity
Why do I need an Ultrasound?
Achilles tendon injuries are important to indentify as the Achilles helps us perform a very important activity of daily living, which is walking. The severity of the tear is graded from 1- 4, which the physician will most likely get you to rate if they suspect an Achilles tendon injury during their assessment. A diagnostic ultrasound will be ordered so the doctor will be able to get a visualization of the tendon and see the severity of the damages. An experienced sonographer will be performing the ultrasound. Please come to your appointment wearing loose fitting clothing as you may be asked to lift your pant leg up in order to expose the entire Achilles tendon. As well, you will be asked to remove any jewellery that may be in the way of the ultrasound. The appointment will take approximately 30 minutes. Please arrive early so you give yourself enough time to check in with the front receptionist.