The Achilles tendon is the most powerful tendon in the human body. It inserts into the posterior part of the calcaneus and is the tendon of the triceps surae muscle. Achilles tendon injuries can be classified into two groups:
– Partial or total tendon ruptures, which are acute and incapacitating.
– Tendinopathy, which can be chronic and, at the same time, insertional or noninsertional.
They are sports-related (running and jumping), and particularly affect people who lack prior training and exert themselves sporadically, or those with sedentary lifestyles. In tendinopathy, the degeneration of tendon tissue (tendinosis) is evident.
At the moment of rupture, there is an audible clicking sound, very severe pain and loss of function, with the patient only being able to continue walking with the foot in an equine position and by putting weight on the metatarsal heads. In tendinopathy, also known as tendinitis, although inflammation is not evident, the patient reports discomfort and mild pain above the heel and in the lower leg during physical activity and especially afterwards. Stiffness, inflammation and hard nodules in the tendon. Weakness and a clicking sound when moving the ankle.
Total or partial ruptures often require surgical treatment followed by rehabilitation.
To ensure that the foot remains in an equine position to ease tension in the tendon during healing, patients are recommended to use WALKER or ROM WALKER orthoses that feature internal Achilles wedges to enable walking and to keep the ankle joint in a controlled equine position. The Achilles wedges can be gradually removed and the angle reduced as the injury heals until full mobility
of the ankle joint is regained. In the case of tendinopathy, compression-type ankle orthoses are available featuring stabilising systems and wedges to keep the foot in an equine position to reduce tension in the tendon.