The achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body. The soleus and gastrocnemius muscle bellies come together to form the tendon. Any type of sudden increase in activity or high impact activity can lead to inflammation within the tendon sheath or a strain in the calf muscles. Inflammation or calf strain should not be taken lightly. If not addressed with proper treatment in an appropriate and timely manner can lead to partial tears or complete tendon rupture.
Calf Strains can be classified by 3 Grades:
Grade 1: Sharp pain at the time of injury or pain with activity.
Mild Pain and localized tenderness. Mild spasm and swelling.
<10% muscle fiber disruption
Grade 2: Unable to continue activity
Clear loss of strength and range of motion
10-15% disruption of muscle fibers
Grade 3: Immediate severe pain, disability
Complete loss of muscle function. Palpable defect.
50-100% disruption of muscle fibers, tendon retraction
Kevin Durant of the then Golden State Warriors experienced a calf strain during game 5 the 2019 NBA semi-finals. He had an MRI that confirmed a grade 1 strain. Following the diagnosis, Durant had an aggressive rehabilitation course for a quick recovery. He was cleared to return back to practice after 4 weeks of rest and rehabilitation. On that same day Durant was cleared to play in game 5 of the NBA finals vs. the Toronto Raptors. During the second quarter Durant fell to the floor and grabbed his Achilles tendon. Later was revealed that Kevin Durant suffered a complete Achilles tendon rupture.
Did he return back to play too soon? Should he have been cleared to play competitively after just 4 weeks of rest and rehab? Should he have taken the full 6 weeks required for physiological soft tissue healing of his calf strain?
If you experience any pain or discomfort along your Achilles tendon, or calf, don’t wait too long and visit Brucato Foot and Ankle Surgery for a consultation right away!