Know the basics
What is achilles tendon rupture?
Achilles tendon rupture is a common injury of the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone.
Achilles tendon helps you push your heel of the ground and point your toes to the floor so that you can jump, run and walk. Although it is a band of tough tissue, your Achilles tendon can be teared or rupture if you overstretch it.
You may or may not need surgery depending on your injury’s seriousness.
How common is achilles tendon rupture?
Achilles tendon rupture often occurs in athletes, both professional and amateur. In general, this injury is common in 40 to 50-year-old men. The male patients are five times higher than female patients are.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of achilles tendon rupture?
If your Achilles tendon ruptured, you may or may not have the following symptoms:
- Hearing the sound of snapping or popping
- Pain and swelling in the back of your leg or ankle. This is the most common symptom when the injury occurs.
- Unable to walk without pain, especially when you try to push off your toes
- Unable to standing tiptoe
- Calf muscles may be bunched up.
There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
When should I see my doctor?
You should immediately call for emergency or go to the nearest clinic right after feeling stabbing pain in your lower calf, especially if you cannot properly walk or push off your toes.
Know the causes
What causes achilles tendon rupture?
Achilles tendon takes part in every movements of your foot which includes walking, jumping, running or even tiptoeing, etc.,…
If the tendon suddenly receives a certain amount of stress, it may be partially or completely tear. In your daily activities, you may forcefully bending the foot toward the shin or be hit directly to the heel which may injure your Achilles tendon.
The injury may be worse if you:
- Ignore the symptoms or appoint doctor lately
- Not follow doctor’s instructions and cautions
- Continue to play sport or athletic activities prior to the doctor’s allowance
- Have cortisone or steroid injections around the Achilles tendon
- Remove or damage your cast.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for achilles tendon rupture?
If you are engaging in recreational sport requiring intensive foot movements after a long hiatus from exercise at that age, you may tear your Achilles tendon.
Other factors that may increase your risk of Achilles tendon rupture include:
- Pain relief injection. If you are injected steroid to the ankle for reducing pain and inflammation, steroid can weaken your tendons nearby.
- Antibiotics prescription. If you are using certain medications such as quinolone antibiotics, their side effects may make your Achilles tendon in higher risk of being injured.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is achilles tendon rupture diagnosed?
The doctor uses a history and physical examination to diagnose Achilles tendon rupture. Another test is called Thompson test, or squeeze test. If you have Achilles tendon rupture, your ankle will not react as it usually does when the doctor squeeze your calf muscles.
How is achilles tendon rupture treated?
Surgery is the most common treatment for Achilles tendon rupture. The operation is to stitch the injured tendon together. Then, your doctor will immobilize the foot with casts in several positions.
However, if your injury is not too serious and the tendon can be healed itself without surgery, the doctor may offer a cast for about 3 months, with two casts changes.
In both treatments, you may need to wear a heel lift or high-heeled shoe in a while after the removal of casts.
It takes up to 6 months for your tendon fully recovered. You cannot rush it, but physical therapy and exercise is good choices to shorten the recovery time.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage achilles tendon rupture?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Achilles tendon rupture:
- Take pain medicines as prescribed
- Protect your cast
- Follow physical therapy and exercise instructions to recover muscle strength and range of motion at your ankle
- Call your doctor if you have severe pain in the calf or any abnormal signs at the ankle
- If you have a partial tear, you must follow your rehabilitation program exactly. A complete rupture is possible of the tendon is stressed too much.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders / Elsevier, 2012. Print edition. Page 733-734
Achilles tendon rupture – aftercare. The National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000546.htm. Accessed Jul 15 2016
Achilles tendon rupture. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/achilles-tendon- rupture/basics/definition/con-20020370?p=1. Accessed Jul 15 2016