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/en2013.09.21.5.26.e1108Correspondence
This article has been subject to double blind peer reviewConflict of interest
Received: 27 November 2012
Accepted: 08 March 2013