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Achilles Tendon Tear & Rupture

Home » Conditions » Achilles Tendon Tear & Rupture

Achilles Tendon Tear & Rupture

The Best Achilles Treatment in the Tri-State Area

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body. It connects the muscles in the back of your lower leg to your heel bone (e.g., the calcaneus) and must withstand large forces during sporting exercises and pivoting. There are two main types of injuries that affect the Achilles tendon: overuse and inflammation, called Achilles tendonosis, and, a tear of the tendon.

Your Achilles tendon may tear if it is overstretched, usually while playing sports. The tear may be partial or complete, and it most commonly occurs just above your heel bone. A snap or crack sound may be heard at the time of injury.

 

Prevention

Reduce your risk.

To reduce your chance of developing Achilles tendon problems, follow these tips:

  • Stretch and strengthen calf muscles. Stretch your calves to the point at which you feel a noticeable pull, but not pain. Don’t bounce during a stretch. Calf-strengthening exercises can also help the muscle and tendon to absorb more force and prevent injury.
  • Vary your exercises. Alternate high-impact sports, such as running, with low-impact sports, such as walking, biking or swimming. Avoid activities that place excessive stress on your Achilles tendons, such as hill running and jumping activities.
  • Choose running surfaces carefully. Avoid or limit running on hard or slippery surfaces. Dress properly for cold-weather training and wear well-fitting athletic shoes with proper cushioning in the heels.
  • Increase training intensity slowly. Achilles tendon injuries commonly occur after abruptly increasing training intensity. Increase the distance, duration and frequency of your training by no more than 10 percent each week.
 
 

Symptoms

Pinpoint your pain.

A person with a ruptured Achilles tendon may experience one or more of the following:

  • Sudden pain, which feels like they have been kicked or a stabbed, in the back of the ankle or calf—often subsiding into a dull ache
  • A popping or snapping sensation
  • Swelling or bruising on the back of the leg between the heel and the calf
  • Difficulty walking, especially upstairs or uphill, and difficulty rising up on the toes
  • Inability to bend your foot downward or to walk normally
 

Diagnosis

Get the answers you need.

In diagnosing an Achilles tendon rupture, a foot and ankle surgeon will ask questions about how and when the injury occurred, and whether the patient has previously injured the tendon or experienced similar symptoms. Your surgeon will examine the foot and ankle, feeling for a defect in the tendon that suggests a tear. Range of motion and muscle strength will be evaluated and compared to the uninjured foot and ankle, as well. If the Achilles tendon is ruptured, the patient will have less strength in pushing down, as on a gas pedal, and will have difficulty rising on the toes.The diagnosis of an Achilles tendon rupture is typically straightforward and can be made through this type of examination. In some cases, however, your surgeon may order a MRI or other advanced imaging tests.

 
 

Treatment

Life’s too short to put up with pain.

Surgery is typically needed for a complete rupture. After surgery, your ankle will be kept stable in a cast or walking boot for up to 12 weeks.A torn ligament may also be managed non-surgically with a below-knee cast or boot, which would allow the ends of the torn tendon to heal on their own. This nonsurgical approach may take longer to heal, and there is a higher chance that the tendon could re-rupture. Surgery offers a better chance of full recovery and is often the treatment of choice for active people who wish to resume sports.

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