Diagnosing Achilles tendon injuries in the emergency department
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Diagnosing Achilles tendon injuries in the emergency department

Lynda Gibbons Registered advanced nurse practitioner, Emergency department at Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan, County Meath

Lynda Gibbons explains how advanced nurse practitioners can assess and manage a common overuse injury to the lower leg

Achilles tendon (AT) injury is an overuse injury often seen in professional and recreational athletes. It tends to affect men, particularly those in their thirties and forties, more than women, and is typically seen in people who are intermittently active. To ensure AT ruptures are identified and treated effectively, early intervention in emergency departments (EDs) is crucial. This article discusses how advanced nurse practitioners can use their comprehensive problem-solving, clinical decision-making and clinical judgement skills to manage patients who present with suspected AT injury. It also describes the anatomy of tendon rupture, the aetiology and mechanism of injuries, and the importance of assessment and diagnostic tools, therapeutic techniques and management strategies. Finally, it considers the psychological effect this injury can have on patients, while in the ED and after discharge. A case study is included as an example of ED management.

Emergency Nurse. 21, 5,26-30. doi: 10.7748/en2013.



Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 27 November 2012

Accepted: 08 March 2013