As a fan of David Beckham and the World Cup, I was sad to hear about his injury from Sunday's game. With a torn left Achilles tendon that will likely need surgery and at least three months recovery time, his ability to participate in his fourth World Cup is probably unlikely. Although he may be sidelined from playing for a while, he's confident that the injury will heal and he'll be playing for years to come.
A torn Achilles tendon is actually a pretty common injury for both athletes and weekend warriors alike. This band of fibrous tissue connects your calf muscle to your heel bone. According to WebMD, "problems with the Achilles tendon may seem to happen suddenly, but usually they are the result of many tiny tears to the tendon that have happened over time."
Are you at risk for a partial tear or rupture (complete tear)? To find out, read more.
Tearing an Achilles tendon is most likely caused by overuse or repetitive movements, either from a certain type of exercise such as running, or a work-related activity such as construction. You're at risk if you:
- Take part in sports or activities that involve quickly pushing off or stop-and-go movements, including basketball, tennis, soccer, or softball.
- Suddenly change how you exercise in terms of intensity, length of time, or how often.
- Don't take enough time to warm up before getting into your workout.
- Overstretch the area while exercising or afterward.
- Wear shoes that don't have enough arch or sturdy heel support.
- Already suffer from inflammation in that area.
- Have high cholesterol.
- Are a middle-aged adult, or are male.
Treatment can involve surgery (as Beckham is reportedly opting for), physical therapy, or you can wear a cast and let the injury heal on its own. Either way, it's not fun and can take three to six months to recover. So if the above risks sound familiar, take precautions so you can prevent this painful injury.