Is Tiger’s Tendon His Achilles Heel?

Sunday, Tiger Woods withdrew from the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Doral because of discomfort in his left Achilles tendon:

I felt tightness in my left Achilles warming up this morning, and it continued to get progressively worse…. After hitting my tee shot at 12, I decided it was necessary to withdraw. In the past, I may have tried to continue to play, but this time, I decided to do what I thought was necessary.”

However, today he tweeted:

Got good news from doc tonight. Only mild strain of left Achilles. Can resume hitting balls late in week and hopeful for next week.

Is this the beginning of the end for Tiger? Here’s what ESPN sports commentators Doug Stewart, Ryan Stewart and Skip Bayless have to say:

What is the Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon is the strongest and thickest tendon in the human body.

It runs from along the back of the calf connecting the large calf muscle (gastrocnemius) with the heel.

It facilitates walking by helping to raise the heel off the ground.  It is the thick band of tissue you feel at the back of your leg just above the ankle.

What is the difference between a strain and a sprain?

A strain comes from an injury to a muscle or tendon (the thick fibrous band that attaches a muscle to a bone). It comes after a quick tear, twist or pull of a muscle caused by over contraction or stretching. Pain, weakness, or muscle twitching are frequent symptoms of strains.

A sprain is an injury to the ligaments (thick bands of cartilage that connects bone to bone) caused by a fall or outside force that pulls the surrounding joint beyond its normal range of movement. The degree of sprain can range from a stretched ligament to a completely torn ligament. Symptoms include pain with movement, swelling, bruising, and joint instability.

Mild injuries of either type are treated with RICE therapy- rest, ice, compression, and elevation. More severe injuries may require immobilization or possibly surgery to restore function.

Do you think Tiger Woods can regain his golfing glory? Or are his best days over?

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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