Achilles tendon injury: incidence, etiologies, treatments, and outcomes
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The Achilles tendon is the largest single tendon in the body and critical for common movements. Achilles tendon injuries are common, with rising levels of incidence in the western world. Current trends indicate that levels of Achilles tendon injuries will continue to rise globally. These are also impactful injuries, often resulting in long term alterations in lives and activities. Particularly devastating are the effects of Achilles tendon injury on athletes. The goal of this thesis is to contextualize these injuries and trends, providing a system of categorization for understanding and classifying Achilles tendon injuries. The normal structure and function of the Achilles tendon is introduced, followed by a discussion of a series of factors that can lead to Achilles tendon injury. Achilles tendon injuries are sorted into a clinically relevant framework and the various treatments and outcomes for these injuries are explored, with an eye towards potential areas of further research. Taken together, these analyses show the importance and prevalence of Achilles tendon injuries, some of the inherent challenges in dealing with these injuries, and also demonstrate the necessity for further study and exploration of Achilles tendon injuries.