TREATING ACHILLES CONDITIONS – HONORING A LEGEND

“When you make a choice, and say “Come hell or high water, I’m going to be this…then you shouldn’t be surprised when you are that.” It should not be something that is intoxicating or out of character because you have seen this moment for so long, that when the moment comes, of course it is here because…it has been in your mind the whole time”
– Kobe Bryant

On January 26, 2020 the entire world was shocked by the untimely passing of the young, yet legendary Kobe Bean Bryant. He was only 41 years old. Kobe Bryant spent his entire twenty year basketball career with the Los Angeles Lakers, and under his helm, the team was able to secure with their hard work and their talents five NBA Championships. Kobe was truly a talent to be seen in the sports realm. Even if you never watched the sport, you knew of him and his charismatic and powerful presence. His energy just drew you to him, the instant he stepped unto the court and started playing. As an athlete, he inspired millions with hard work and passion, and we would like to honor him briefly on our blog. Nothing great was ever achieved without hard work, and the Mamba mentality that he instilled in people, is one that we all should embody. Passion and dedication to the craft is warranted in all realms of life. If we all gave as much as he did, the entire world would operate like a well oiled machine.

Off the court however, Kobe was a loving husband, father, brother and friend. Kobe’s kindness led him to start a sports academy, dedicated to empowering the women of the basketball field. In much the same way that Kobe’s father before him was an NBA player, Kobe was training his daughter Gianna, and several other promising young women, to one day be the helm of their sports professions once they became professionals. Impact is something that goes beyond an individual and we are all truly blessed to have been graced by a legend in this current era of our existence.

As an athlete, one of Kobe’s most debilitating injuries, was a torn Achilles. Let us delve into the nuances of this condition, and see how you can arrange with your orthopaedic surgeon to have your condition treated, should you find yourself in a similar position.

ACHILLES TENDON RUPTURE

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Image Credit: Mayo Clinic

What is Achilles Tendon Rupture? 

Achilles Tendon Rupture is a condition  that occurs when the Achilles tendon separates into two separate parts after the introduction to a stress, that causes the tendon to shear then break! It is usually associated with hearing a loud “pop” in the feet once there’s a vigorous blow to the heel area. The variation in ankle conditions is expansive from minor conditions to debilitating conditions where patients cannot walk. Not all ankle pain sufferers are the same!

The symptoms list can be numerous! The symptoms of Achilles tendon rupture can be mistaken for additional ailments, so consult with your foot and ankle surgeon in order to determine what the root cause of your ankle pain is! 

What are the symptoms of Achilles Tendon Rupture? 

As an injury of the lower leg, the statistics have proven that the condition occurs when a blow is received to the back of the lower leg. As a ligament, the Achilles tendon facilitates the flexibility of the ankle joint. Athletes are the number one suffers from Achilles tendon rupture. Additionally, risk factors such as age, gender, antibiotic usage, obesity, and steroid usage have proven to increase the odds of Achilles Tendon Rupture. 

As a strong fibrous cord, via the laws of physics, if stretched to the limit…the Achilles Heel will definitely break. Orthopaedics has identified two different types of rupture of the Achilles Tendon: 

  1. Complete Rupture: This results in the tearing of the tendon into two segments, as outlined in the image above. 
  2. Partial Rupture: This results in the partial tearing of the tendon. There will still be a joining of the tendon at one phase of the defect, but a separation at one stage. 

What are the treatment options for Achilles Tendon Rupture

With an excruciating pain that affects your ability to walk, the most common treatment for Achilles Tendon rupture is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Surgery is the ideal way to engineer the tendon back to its former glory. As with all surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will assess the area, usually with a scan like an X-ray in order to determine where the problem is. Post surgery, you will be prescribed a recovery plan, to facilitate your healing. 

While there are non-surgical treatments for Achilles tendon rupture, minimally invasive procedures have proven effective for healing the root cause, particularly for a internal tear. For maintenance of the ankle, stretching exercises have proven effective in facilitating the healing of the ankle regions. An appropriate physiotherapy will aid in the restoration. 

Reference: 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/achilles-tendon-rupture/symptoms-causes/syc-20353234

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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