ASK THE MXPERTS: HOW TO PREVENT RUPTURED ACHILLES TENDONS
COULD HAVE, SHOULD HAVE, MIGHT HAVE
After seeing Eli Tomac tear his Achilles tendon, I’m reminded of a footpeg product that was made to prevent this but can’t recall its name. It was a one-piece footpeg that extended rearward. I realize that’s a poor description, but I know you guys will know what I’m talking about. Thank you.
You are asking about Fastway EXT footpegs, also known as HSD Ankle Saver footpegs, which might have protected Eli Tomac’s Achilles tendon from being stretched to the breaking point. The key design feature of the Fastway EXT footpegs is the Ankle Saver extension that extends off the back of the regular Fastway footpeg. The extension angles downward to a small secondary foot pad. It is positioned so that the heel of the rider’s boot will land on it, stopping the rider’s heel from dropping precipitously towards the ground. In Eli Tomac’s incident at the Denver Supercross, he flat landed a jump, and the force rocked his left foot down and back, magnified by the fact that he was riding on the balls of his feet. His heel dropped below the height of the footpegs, and his Achilles tendon ruptured.
The Achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord that connects the muscles in the back of your calf to the heel bone. The Achilles tendon’s job is to manage the amount of flexion required to lift your foot up, aim it downward or push off your foot as you walk. You rely on it virtually every time you walk or move your foot.
Achilles-tendon ruptures usually occur in the tendon 2-1/2 inches above where the tendon attaches to the heel bone. This section is prone to rupture because blood flow there is poor, which also can impair its ability to heal. If you overstretch your Achilles tendon, it can tear or rupture (they are not the same). There are complete and partial tendon injuries. Achilles tendon injuries most commonly occur in adults from 30 to 50 years of age, and Achilles injuries affect 1 million athletes per year. Re-ruptures only occur in 2 percent of cases after surgical intervention, while non-surgical treatments have a much greater risk of re-rupture.
For more information on Fastway EXT Ankle Saver footpegs, which are available in steel and aluminum versions, go to www.fastway.zone or call (208) 466-4762.