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Achilles Rupture

Definition:

An Achilles rupture is the separation or tearing of the Achilles tendon. most often caused by a sudden, forceful motion that stresses the calf muscle.

Causes:

A rupture most often occurs in sports such as basketball, racquet sports (including tennis), soccer and softball. However, this can happen during a range of activities, from an intense athletic activity to simple running or jumping. Achilles tendon rupture is most often caused by:

  • Sudden, forceful motion that stresses the calf muscle, especially in middle-aged adults.
  • Overstretching the tendon during any activity when the tendon is already damaged because of Achilles tendinopathy or another condition.
  • Previous corticosteroid injections (in the past, a common treatment for overuse tendon injury). Corticosteroids can weaken or break down tendon tissue, making it more likely to rupture.

 

Symptoms:

Depending on whether the Achilles tendon injury is a full or partial tear, symptoms may include:

  • A sudden, sharp pain that feels like a direct hit to the Achilles tendon. There may be a pop when the rupture occurs, and swelling and bruising may follow.
  • Heel pain, which may be severe.
  • Not being able to go on tiptoe
Treatment:

Treatment for an Achilles tendon rupture includes:

  • Rest and anti-inflammatories, to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Surgery, to reattach the torn ends of the tendon.
  • Immobilization with a cast, splint, brace, walking boot or other device, to prevent movement of the lower leg and ankle, allowing the ends of the Achilles tendon to reattach and heal.
  • Physical therapy, for stretching/strengthening.
Learn about common causes of foot and ankle pain and how physical therapy treatment can help.
South Sound Physical & Hand Therapy Pain Guide