Achilles tendon rupture in atypical patient populations
Peter Kingsley Paramedic practitioner, South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Surrey
Peter Kingsley explains why three out of ten patients who present with Achilles tendon rupture do not sustain the injury while playing sports
Rupture of the Achilles tendon is a significant injury, and the likelihood of a good recovery is directly associated with early diagnosis and appropriate referral. Such injuries are commonly assessed and identified by practitioners working in ‘minors’ areas of emergency departments or urgent care settings. The literature frequently describes rupture of the Achilles tendon as ‘typically sport-related’ affecting ‘middle-aged weekend warriors’, but this aetiology accounts for only about 70% of such injuries. Factors such as the natural ageing process, obesity and use of some commonly prescribed medications, can increase the risk of developing a tendinopathy and subsequent rupture, often from a seemingly insignificant incident. However, research suggests that injuries in this patient population are more likely be missed on first examination. This article describes risk factors that should alert clinicians to the possibility of Achilles tendon rupture in ‘atypical’ patient populations.
Emergency Nurse. 23, 10, 34-36. doi: 10.7748/en.23.10.34.s24Correspondence
This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism softwareConflict of interest
Received: 05 January 2016
Accepted: 23 February 2016