China’s Olympic Hurdler Liu Xiang Plagued by Achilles Heel Pain


Liu Xiang, China’s greatest hurdler and athletic hero, was unable to finish his 110 meter hurdle heat after suffering a devastating Achilles tendon injury.  His doctors suspect it was a rupture. Liu’s injury comes after his disappointing performance in the 2008 Olympics, when Achilles tendon pain prevented him from winning a gold medal, forcing him to settle for silver. It is still uncertain if Liu will return to hurdling.

As Liu shows, Achilles tendon injuries can be a persistent, devastating cause of foot pain. If you are suffering from Achilles tendon pain, ankle pain, or foot pain, it is recommended that you seek the care of a podiatrist like Dr. Bruce Theall of Gentle Touch Foot Care. We will examine your injury and recommend appropriate treatment options to alleviate your foot and ankle pain.

What is the Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body, and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can cause severe difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.

What are the symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?

There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.

Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms

  • Inflammation
  • Dull to Severe Pain
  • Increased blood flow to the tendon
  • Thickening of the tendon

Rupture Symptoms

  • Extreme pain and swelling in the foot
  • Total immobility

Treatment and Prevention

Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation. Often the doctor will order an MRI to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment will involve rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:

  • Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise
  • Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses
  • Proper fitting shoes
  • A healthy diet

If you have any questions, vist our video library or please feel free to contact our office located in East Orange, NJ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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