Leg Tendons


Understanding Damage to Leg Tendons and Proper Treatment

The fibrous connective tissue that links muscle to bone is what leg tendons are comprised of, which can handle a tremendous amount of force.  The leg has a number of tendons although the Achilles is the largest, not just in the leg but also the entire body.  This tendon starts at the heel and stretches all the way to the calf.  Without the Achilles, things such as walking, running, dancing, and jumping would be impossible.  In fact, when the body moves forward, this motion is possible because of the Achilles engaging the calf muscle.

While all leg tendons are strong and durable, to include the Achilles, serious injuries are relatively common.  In some instances, the Achilles may be injured only slightly, which would heal on its own with time with rest.  However, if the Achilles tendon were to become partially torn or detached, it can actually leave a person disabled.  Sadly, many professional athletes have had to retire early as the result of a torn or detached Achilles.

Another way in which leg tendons can be damaged has to do with inflamed fibers.  In this case, the cause is usually friction associated with the tendon and cellular sheath that covers the tendon occurs.  One of the more serious injuries involving the Achilles leg tendons is a rupture.  In this case, the tendon has torn or detached completely.  With this type of injury, the entire leg becomes unstable and when it involves the Achilles, walking would be impossible.

The challenge of a ruptured Achilles is that it could happen at any time and without warning.  A professional athlete would be at the greatest risk, hearing a loud popping sound as the tendon actually gives way.  Immediately, the person would experience significant pain, which would follow within hours by swelling and redness.  Again, this type of injury is major and one that would require surgery.

The best way to avoid injuries of the leg tendons is always to warm up before participating in a sport or doing any physical activity.  Even if you only play sports on the weekend for fun, you would be at risk.  To avoid an injury such as this, it is imperative you spend 10 minutes before activity stretching and warming the muscles, as well as 10 minutes cooling down after exercising.

Although anyone could end up with injury to leg tendons, studies show the men between the ages of 30 and 50 are at greatest risk simply because they are the most physically active and often push themselves.  Along with improper stretching, injuries to leg tendons can also occur when tendons are trained or used too much.  For instance, if you love stair climbing at the local gym but you do this one exercise five days a week for an hour, you are overusing the Achilles tendon, putting yourself at risk for serious injury.

Other causes of a tendon injury, especially to the Achilles would be running on pavement, wearing poor quality walking, running, court, or cross-training shoes, being flat-footed, running uphill, or experiencing some type of direct trauma.  Remember, making a few wise choices can prevent such an injury.  However, if injury to leg tendons does occur, you want to see a doctor right away so it could be determined if the injury is minor or major so the right treatment could be provided.