An Achilles heel rupture refers to a tear (partial or complete) in the tight band of connective tissue that attaches the calf muscle to the heel of the foot, called the Achilles tendon.
When an Achilles tendon ruptures, patients can feel a variety of symptoms, including a sudden and sharp pain between the calf and heel, a popping sensation near the back of the ankle, and swelling between the calf and heel. It is also common to have difficulty walking, running, jumping, standing on your toes, doing leg exercises, and going up and down stairs.
Achilles tendon tears are generally caused by a sudden application of stress or force on the Achilles tendon. This can happen when a person falls on their feet from a significant height, while playing intense sports, or when the foot suddenly falls and hits a hard surface (such as stepping into a steep hole).
While anyone can rupture their Achilles tendon, it is more common injury among middle-aged adults who recreationally play sports that require running, pivoting, jumping and sudden starts or stops. Examples of such sports include tennis, soccer, football, and basketball.
Another risk factor is being significantly overweight. Being overweight puts more pressure on your legs and the Achilles heel. Because of the constant strain on the Achilles tendon, it is easier to tear it.
Finally, some steroid injections used to reduce inflammation in the ankle joint can weaken the Achilles heel tendon which is located close by.
If you experience pain and suspect you may have a ruptured Achilles tendon, your doctor will perform a physical examination and check for tenderness and swelling between the calf and heel of the foot. The doctor may also order an imaging test such as an ultrasound or MRI to see what the issue is inside the lower leg. Once diagnosed, your doctor will also determine the extent of the rupture (partial or complete tear). This will help determine the best treatment plan for you.
If the tendon has a small tear, your doctor may recommend nonsurgical treatments. They include:
- Using crutches and keeping weight off the leg so the tendon can heal
- Applying ice to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain symptoms
- Taking over the counter pain relievers to reduce pain symptoms
If the tendon is completely torn, surgery may be required to stitch up the torn tendon. This procedure will require an incision in the back of the lower leg.
Achilles Tendon Rupture Treatment in Northeast Ohio
If you have injured your Achilles tendon, contact Orthopaedic Associates to get quality treatment today. Our orthopedic experts understand how to diagnose, treat, and prevent all types of orthopedic conditions and injuries, including Achilles tendon ruptures. Our board-certified physicians will thoroughly examine your injury, explore all treatments available (nonsurgical and surgical) and will make treatment recommendations specific to your injury and lifestyle needs. To make an appointment, call (440) 892-1440 or request an appointment online.