Achillies Tendon Rupture
Tendons are the soft tissues connecting muscles to the bones.
The Achilles tendon is found behind the ankle, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone, this allows foot and toe movements necessary for walking, running and jumping.
The tear or rupture of the Achilles tendon happens due to advanced age or following sudden bursts of activity during sports such as tennis, badminton, and football. People with a history of Achilles tendonitis, and those suffering from certain diseases such as arthritis and diabetes are at a higher risk of tendon ruptures.
Symptoms of Achilles tendon Rupture
An immediate ‘popping’ or ‘snapping’ noise
Sudden sharp pain
Unable to play on after
Inability to raise onto tiptoes
Diagnosis of Achilles tendon Rupture
Trauma specialists can diagnose an Achilles tendon rupture are diagnosed after taking a history of what happened, a medical history, and carrying out a physical examination. An ultrasound scan and/or MRI scan may also be required to assess for partial or full thickness tears.
Treatment of Achilles tendon Rupture
Immediate treatment should include rest, ice, pain relief and elevation to help reduce the swelling.
Non-surgical treatment involves a plaster cast followed by walking boot to allow the ruptured tendon to re-attach and heal. This may be suitable for partial tears or where patients want to avoid an operation.
Surgical treatment involves a small incision behind the ankle to access the torn tendon, which is then stitched back together using a strong suture material. This is often favoured by athletes or in complete ruptures where there is a large gap in the tendon.
After Achilles tendon injuries physiotherapy exercises are important to avoid stiffness and regain calf strength to get back to activities. After surgery there will be a period of time where no weight should be put through the repaired tendon, crutches and a boot with heel raises will be needed. These will gradually be reduced as the tendon length is restored. The trauma surgeon will advise on the exact timeframes for you.
Surrey Orthopaedic Clinic
Achilles Injury Specialists:
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and also the most commonly ruptured tendon. When a tendon ruptures this means it has torn
and can no longer function.
Both professional athletes and ‘weekend warriors’ typically suffer from this injury.