The Achilles Tendon is the largest tendon in the body and can withstand large forces. It stretches from the calf muscle to the heel bone. It is typically injured with overuse or a strong eccentric (tendon contracting while elongating). When it ruptures patients often describe the feeling they feel as being hit or kicked. It can be difficult to walk after, and pushing off can be weak and painful. With an exam I can typically feel the gap where the tendon is ruptured, and I will perform a Thompson test. This test involves having the patient lie on their stomach and bend their knee 90 degrees. I then squeeze the calf and if the tendon is intact the ankle will move downward like pressing a gas pedal. If not, the tendon is ruptured.
MRIs are typically necessary and overused to diagnose the injury. I favor surgically fixing the tendon in most patients, as it typically leads to a faster recovery, and a fuller recovery of the calf muscle strength. Also there tends to be a significantly lower re-tear rate with a surgically repaired tendon.
Full recovery takes almost a full year, but amazingly enough patients begin walking in about seven days after surgery! A return to full athletic activity will typically take around 6-9 months.
We will keep our eye on Durant to see what happens with him, but let’s hope he has a great team of doctors to help him out. He could always call me to book an appointment at the Allen or McKinney Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine locations.