Achilles tendon rupture is an injury that affects the backside of the lower leg. When the Achilles tendon ruptures the patient hears a popping sound in the backside of the ankles. Stretching of the ankles may lead to partial or full rupture of the ankles.
There may be times when there are no signs or symptoms of Achilles tendon rupture, but others may experience the below-mentioned symptoms.
- The feeling of having been kicked in the calf
- Severe pain and swelling near the heel or ankles
- An inability to bend the foot downward or “push off” the injured leg when walking
- An inability to stand on the toes of the injured leg for a longer duration
- A popping or snapping sound when the injury occurs
Achilles tendon rupture is often caused by a sudden increase in stress levels. Some of the common reasons which may have caused the Achilles tendon to rupture are:
- Too much involvement in sports activities like jumping, running
- Dropping from a great height
- Age. (Risk increases between the age of 30-40)
- Intake of steroid injections
- Excess weight puts strain on tendons
For diagnosing, the doctor will look for any soreness and swelling. If the tendon has totally been ruptured the doctor may be able to feel the gap in the tendons and better detect the issue. In the examination, the doctor will put some pressure on the calf muscles to check if your foot flexes in a natural way. If the doctor is not able to diagnose the issue the doctor may suggest an ultrasound to check if it’s entirely ruptured or partially ruptured.
The treatment of the Achilles tendon depends on the severity of the inflammation and also depends on the age and the type of activity due to which it ruptured. There are both surgical and non-surgical methods to treat the rupture.
Non-surgical treatment includes
- Resting the tendon by using crutches
- Applying ice to the affected area
- OTC medications
As per a standard method, the doctor makes an incision in the lower leg and sews the damaged tendon together. Depending on the condition of the damaged tendon the doctor may use other tendons to support the repair.
To reduce your chance of developing Achilles tendon problems, follow these tips:
- Stretch and strengthen calf muscles. Stretch your calf until you feel a noticeable pull but not pain. Don’t bounce during a stretch. Calf-strengthening exercises can also help the muscle and tendon 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 an abrupt increase in training intensity. Increase the distance, duration and frequency of your training by no more than 10 percent weekly.