Achilles tendon injuries sideline key Kansas City Chiefs players

Derrick Johnson taken back to the locker room after injury. Photo by: Peter Aiken
Derrick Johnson being taken back to the locker room after injury. Photo by: Peter Aiken

The entire Chiefs Nation watched as the Kansas City Chiefs took on the Tennessee Titans this past Sunday, which resulted in a devastating 26-10 loss in their season opener. But a loss wasn’t the only thing that occurred on the field. Both linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive tackle Mike DeVito suffered ruptures to their Achilles tendons. This type of injury most likely will have both players sidelined the rest of the year, after only playing in the first game of the season.

The Achilles tendon is a band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. This tendon aids in walking by raising the heel of your foot off the ground. Significant stress is put on the Achilles tendon in sports that require a lot of jumping, pivoting, or sudden bursts of movement.  An Achilles rupture occurs when the tendon is stretched too far, resulting in a complete or partial tear of that tendon. Most commonly, the injury is seen in middle-aged adults that are somewhat de-conditioned and who play sports in their spare time; however you may hear of professional players suffering also.

An Achilles tendon rupture will feel like one of the following: a sudden stabbing pain in the back of the ankle or calf that becomes a dull pain over time, a pop or snapping sensation, swelling on the back of the leg between the calf and the heel, and/or difficulty standing on your toes or walking especially up stairs. Treatment options include surgical and non-surgical possibilities. Non-surgical approaches include crutches, a walking boot, or brace to immobilize and restrict motion to allow the tendon to heal. However, surgery is often recommended for more severe cases, followed by non-weight bearing, immobilization and restricted motion of the tendon. Physical therapy is often prescribed for both non-surgical and surgical patients.

If you or anyone else you know is suffering from Achilles tendon pain, let the doctors at Kansas City Foot and Ankle evaluate your condition and get you back to the activities you love. And, as always from everyone here in the office, GO CHIEFS!