Achilles Tendon Rupture in Collegiate Athletes
Professor Margaret Frens
The Achilles tendon is a thick band of fibrous connective tissue originating from the distal end of the gastroc-soleus complex and inserting on the posterior portion of the calcaneus. This tendon serves to connect the gastrocnemius and soleus muscle to the foot, allowing force production and transmission from the lower extremities through the feet. The Achilles tendon is one of the largest and strongest tendons in the body due to the extreme force demands required of the structure. Activities such as running and jumping are much more efficient in humans due to the presence of the Achilles tendon. As humans age, the tendon begins to deteriorate, sometimes resulting in a rupture. This significant orthopedic injury is generally the result of explosive force, exceeding the tensile strength of the tissue in recreational male athletes aged 40-55. However, a recent occurrence of ruptures at Hope College suggests a possible change in the typical age and profile of a patient with a ruptured Achilles tendon. This case study serves to examine one such case and explore the changes in age, gender, and athletic profile of Achilles tendon ruptures.
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