Updated: Jul 30, 2020
The holiday season is a time for family, friends, good food, and reflection on the things in life that are truly important.
It’s also, unfortunately, a season when we see a lot of accidental and preventable injuries, including sports-related injuries such as Achilles tendon ruptures. With so many friends and family back in town, enjoying some time off, it’s not uncommon for folks to get together for an impromptu game of pick-up basketball or flag football—and rudely discover that they aren’t in their early twenties anymore!
To be clear, we aren’t suggesting that you shouldn’t be active! We encourage all our patients to exercise regularly and develop healthy habits. But when you try to accelerate from 0 to 60 as fast as you can, without properly conditioning your body to handle that kind of stress, an Achilles rupture is a far-too-common consequence.
Ruptures are frequently the result of a sudden spike in physical activity, especially by playing sports that involve a lot of running, jumping, and hard floors or terrain. Basketball is notorious for obvious reasons, but they can occur even during football, soccer, tennis, baseball, trail running, or other activities, too.
The peak age for an Achilles tendon rupture? For the most part, people (especially men) in their 30s, 40s, and early 50s. It’s not hard to imagine why: our tendons lose strength and flexibility over time, both as a natural consequence of aging and also as a result of declining personal fitness due to getting less exercise. If you try to jump straight from the sofa to the game, like you’re still in college, tendons can strain and snap, and that can wreck more than just your holiday.
So, what’s the antidote? It all comes back to being disciplined and intentional about how you stay healthy and train your body throughout the year. Take time to stretch, strength train, and exercise at least a little bit each week, and if you’re planning on making a big impression at the company football game or the charity 5k, train your body to handle that level of stress by gradually working up to it over several weeks. You’ll be fitter, happier, healthier, and you’ll greatly reduce your injury risk. You’ll probably play better, too.
If you get a little overeager this holiday season and sustain an injury to your feet or ankles, give yourself an early Christmas gift and book an appointment with Gulf South Foot & Ankle. Our team of sports injury experts will develop a treatment plan appropriate for your condition and goals. You can reach us at (504) 708-4810 in Metairie, LA or (985) 809-1464 in Covington, LA.