Serena Williams pulled out of the French Open due to an unhealed Achilles injury that, she said, did not get time to recover after the US Open.
“I think I need four-to-six weeks of sitting and doing nothing, at least two weeks of just sitting down,” the tennis player was quoted as saying by AP.
What is Achilles injury? How is it treated?
Achilles tendon attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone or calcaneus. Dr Yash Gulati, senior consultant – orthopedics, joint replacement & spine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, told indianexpress.com, “Achilles tendon is one of the strongest tendons in the body — it helps you to stand on your toes, and therefore in running and walking. This means that we put a lot of stress on this tendon.” Over time, it can get “tired” or damaged that can lead to these types of injuries:
*Achilles tendon rupture or acute injury: This may occur out of the blue due to some sporting event or trauma of usual nature. It usually needs surgical repair and the results are good. It needs to be put in a cast for eight to ten weeks.
*Overuse or repetitive stress injury: This is caused over the years when the tendon gets worn out. This is a more common form of injury.
The other is Achilles tendonitis, which is also a form of wear and tear because of not stretching, microscopic shortening of the tendon or lack of exercise. This can be treated by physiotherapy, stretching, steroid injection, Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy or putting some cushioned pad under the heel.
Common causes of Achilles injury
These include running, walking or jumping on hard surfaces, lack of stretching, and sports activities, said the orthopedic surgeon. Some of the other causes are wearing poor or ill-fitting shoes, wearing high heels daily or for a prolonged duration, or a sudden increase in physical activity without allowing the body to adjust to increased training, mentions Healthline.
Symptoms of Achilles injury
In case of tendonitis, one of the most common symptoms is pain, especially in the morning, and ultimately it persists throughout the day, the doctor stated. In case of rupture, people usually feel like they have been kicked from the back, and they cannot walk or stand on their toes.
Achilles injury is not very common but not rare either, said Dr Gulati.