When the Achilles tendon ruptures. it gets completely torn by a sudden movement of the ankle/leg. It usually occurs in a tendon that is worn out and has weakened over time and then suddenly tears
when there is enough force. It typically occurs during recreational sports that involve running, jumping, and pivoting, such as basketball, soccer or racquet sports. It is most often seen in men in
their 30s and 40s. Some medications and medical problems can predispose to having an Achilles rupture.
Often the individual will feel or hear a pop or a snap when the injury occurs. There is immediate swelling and severe pain in the back of the heel, below the calf where it ruptures. Pain is usually
severe enough that it is difficult or impossible to walk or take a step. The individual will not be able to push off or go on their toes.
An Achilles tendon rupture is when the tendon that connects the heel bone to the calf muscle tears and the fibers separate. This happens mostly between the ages of 30 and 50, and usually is caused by
sports. Symptoms of Achilles tendon rupture include the following. A pop or snap when the tendon tears. Severe pain in back of the ankle, making it nearly impossible to walk. Swelling and
discoloration. Tenderness. Inability to rise on toes. A gap in the back of the ankle where the tendons are separated.
When Achilles tendon injury is suspected, the entire lower lag is examined for swelling, bruising, and tenderness. If there is a full rupture, a gap in the tendon may be noted. Patients will not be
able to stand on the toes if there is a complete Achilles tendon rupture. Several tests can be performed to look for Achilles tendon rupture. One of the most widely used tests is called the Thompson
test. The patient is asked to lie down on the stomach and the examiner squeezes the calf area. In normal people, this leads to flexion of the foot. With Achilles tendon injury, this movement is not
Non Surgical Treatment
Treatment of the initial injury is with use of ice, elevation, and immobilization. If suspected you should contact your podiatrist or physician. Further treatment with continued immobilization, pain
medication, or anti-inflammatory medications may be advised. If casted the foot is usually placed in a plantarflexed position to decrease the stretch on the tendon. As healing progresses the cast is
changed to a more dorsiflexed position at the ankle. The casting processes can be up to 8 weeks or more.
Unlike other diseases of the Achilles tendon such as tendonitis or bursitis, Achilles tendon rupture is usually treated with surgical repair. The surgery consists of making a small incision in the
back part of the leg, and using sutures to re-attach the two ends of the ruptured tendon. Depending on the condition of the ends of the ruptured tendon and the amount of separation, the surgeon may
use other tendons to reinforce the repair. After the surgery, the leg will be immobilized for 6-8 weeks in a walking boot, cast, brace, or splint. Following this time period, patients work with a
physical therapist to gradually regain their range of motion and strength. Return to full activity can take quite a long time, usually between 6 months and 1 year.