References to Achilles injuries date back to Greek mythology.
The expression “Achilles heel” implies a deadly weakness in spite of overall strength, which can actually or potentially lead to downfall. In college D-I football, an isolated Achilles injury in a powerfully strong body can still render the athlete defenseless and impotent.
What is the Achilles tendon? The large calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus, attach in the knee and upper tibia region and pass down the lower leg continuing on as the Achilles tendon which inserts on the heel bone. This tendon is the largest in the body. Unfortunately, it also is one with a poor blood circulation. Injuries heal slowly. Surgical repairs do the same.
It seems there has been a rash of Achilles tendon ruptures in college and professional football this year.
To minimize the chance of re-rupture and optimize sports performance, surgery is commonly done to repair this tendon. Care must be taken to handle tissues delicately during the surgery. This minimizes tissue trauma that could further impede healing. Post surgery the tendon must be protected to allow for early range of motion but avoiding stress to the tendon that could cause tendon re-injury.
It takes two months before normal walking is possible. Some jogging is allowed at 6-8 months and normal sports activities resume 10-12 months after injury. The slow speed of recovery is frustrating to all who go through this. The good news is that virtually all athletes return to their pre injury level of sports activity.
(pictured are Dr. Greenwald, Buck and Warme)
For those who are interested in what the orthopedic sports docs do for fun, join us at Hickory Hall this Friday night, October 10th.
I play in a rock n roll band and Drs. Warme and Greenwald help out with some background singing at our yearly Halloween party. All Cyclone fans are welcome to join us. It’s free and fun. 300 S 17th Street near Earl May, in the shadow of Jack Trice Stadium. Starts at 8:30. Costumes optional.