While the Achilles tendon is one of the strongest tendons in the human body, it is one of the most common major tendon injuries. Acute ruptures may go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed resulting in a chronic situation.
Likely a Hall of Famer, Shaq's successful career of 19 years in the National Basketball Association came to an end due to an Achilles tendon tear. Experiencing pain toward the end of 2010 in his right Achilles tendon, knowing his retirement was on the horizon, he continued to push himself thru his injury. Seeking a fairy tale ending to his storied career, leaving the game with another World Championship, Shaquille O'Neal tried almost every non-surgical treatment available over the next six months to keep himself in the game. In hindsight, he admits his stubbornness probably made the Achilles injury worse. In June 2011, Shaquille O'Neal announced his retirement at the age of 39.
It was not until he retired, that he was willing to get an MRI of his Achilles. The Diesel's 7 foot 1 inch 325 pound frame took its toll, and the study revealed his chronic Achilles injury was caused by a 9 centimeter large tear. Upon his consultation with Podiatrist Dr. Blume, his foot and ankle surgeon advised him that surgical repair would likely give him the best prognosis.
Tucson Podiatrist Dr. Shih advises that Achilles tendon ruptures can be treated conservatively in a cast or surgically repaired. Generally speaking, young and active patients that seek to return to sports participation should undergo a surgical repair. For older, sicker, or sedentary patients, casting may be appropriate. Some Achilles injuries may not need casting or surgery, new treatments such as PRP, Accoustic Wave therapy, or AmnioMatrix may help accelerate your healing time.
To learn more about common foot problems, get a copy of our Free Gotta Run? book today or schedule an appointment today. If you've got an Achilles injury, ingrown nail, heel pain, or some other type of foot pain, contact Dr. Alan Shih at Head to Toe Healthcare, PLC.