Achilles (uh-KILL-eez) tendon rupture is an injury that impacts the back of your lower leg. It most frequently happens in individuals playing leisure sports.
The Achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord that links the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone. If you overstretch your Achilles tendon, it can tear (rupture) totally or just partially.
If your Achilles tendon ruptures, you might feel a pop or snap, followed by an immediate sharp pain in the back of your ankle and lower leg that is most likely to affect your capability to walk effectively. Surgery is typically the best option to fix an Achilles tendon rupture. For many individuals, nevertheless, nonsurgical treatment works simply as well.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendon Rupture
Although it’s possible to have no signs or symptoms with an Achilles tendon rupture, many people experience:
- Pain, potentially severe, and swelling near your heel
- A failure to flex your foot downward or “push off” the injured leg when you walk
- An inability to stand on your toes on the injured leg
- A popping or snapping noise when the injury takes place
When to see your doctor
Seek medical guidance instantly if you feel a pop or snap in your heel, specifically if you can’t walk properly afterward.
Causes of Achilles Tendon Rupture
Your Achilles tendon assists you point your foot downward, rise on your toes and push off your foot as you walk. You depend on it essentially whenever you move your foot.
Rupture typically happens in the section of the tendon situated within 2 1/2 inches (about 6 centimeters) of the point where it connects to the heel bone. This area might be inclined to rupture since it gets less blood circulation, which also might impair its capability to recover.
Ruptures often are triggered by an abrupt increase in the amount of stress on your Achilles tendon. Typical examples consist of:
- Increasing the strength of sports participation, specifically in sports that involve jumping
- Falling from a height
- Entering a hole
Factors that may enhance your risk of Achilles tendon rupture consist of:
- Age. The peak age for Achilles tendon rupture is 30 to 40.
- Sex. Achilles tendon rupture is up to 5 times more likely to take place in men than in women.
- Recreational sports. Achilles tendon injuries occur more often throughout sports that involve running, jumping, and sudden starts and stops– such as soccer, basketball and tennis.
- Steroid injections. Physicians sometimes inject steroids into an ankle joint to minimize pain and inflammation. Nevertheless, this medication can deteriorate close-by tendons and has been associated with Achilles tendon ruptures.
- Certain antibiotics. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro) or levofloxacin (Levaquin), enhance the threat of Achilles tendon rupture.
Tests and diagnosis
Throughout the physical exam, your doctor will check your lower leg for inflammation and swelling. Oftentimes, physicians can feel a space in your tendon if it has actually burst entirely.
The doctor may likewise ask you to kneel on a chair or lie on your stomach with your feet hanging over the end of the exam table. She or he might then squeeze your calf muscle to see if your foot will automatically bend. If it does not, you most likely have ruptured your Achilles tendon.
If there’s a concern about the degree of your Achilles tendon injury– whether it’s entirely or just partly burst– your doctor might order an ultrasound or MRI scan. These painless treatments create pictures of the tissues of your body.
Treatments and drugs
Treatment for a ruptured Achilles tendon typically depends upon your age, activity level and the severity of your injury. In basic, more youthful and more active individuals frequently pick surgery to repair a totally burst Achilles tendon, while older individuals are most likely to select nonsurgical treatment Recent research studies, nevertheless, have actually shown fairly equal effectiveness of both personnel and nonoperative management.
This strategy usually involves wearing a cast or walking boot with wedges to raise your heel, which enables your torn tendon to recover. This method avoids the risks connected with surgery, such as infection. Nevertheless, the probability of re-rupture might be greater with a nonsurgical strategy, and recovery can take longer. If re-rupture happens, medical repair work may be more difficult.
The treatment normally includes making a cut in the back of your lower leg and sewing the torn tendon together. Depending upon the condition of the torn tissue, the repair service may be enhanced with other tendons. Surgical issues can consist of infection and nerve damage. Infection rates are lowered in surgical treatments that utilize smaller lacerations.
After treatment, whether surgical or nonsurgical, you’ll go through a rehab program including physical treatment exercises to reinforce your leg muscles and Achilles tendon. The majority of people go back to their previous level of activity within 4 to six months.
To reduce your chance of establishing Achilles tendon issues, follow these pointers:
- Stretch and enhance calf muscles. Stretch your calf to the point at which you feel a noticeable pull however not pain. Don’t bounce throughout a stretch. Calf-strengthening exercises can likewise help the muscle and tendon take in more force and avoid injury.
- Differ your exercises. Alternate high-impact sports, such as running, with low-impact sports, such as walking, biking or swimming. Prevent activities that place excessive stress on your Achilles tendons, such as hill running and jumping activities.
- Select running surfaces thoroughly. Avoid or limit operating on difficult or slippery surface areas. Dress properly for cold-weather training and wear well-fitting athletic shoes with appropriate cushioning in the heels.
- Increase training intensity gradually. Achilles tendon injuries frequently occur after suddenly enhancing training strength. Enhance the range, period and frequency of your training by no greater than 10 percent each week.