Achilles Tendon Rupture: Pop Goes the Tendon!
We’re not talking mulberry bush, monkeys or weasels here, although you may be running around when it happens. Stepping up the pace in your daily walk could do it; so could using those old worn-out shoes, or forgetting to warm up your calf muscles before you head out. All it takes is one wrong step, a pop, and then the back of your ankle hurts so badly you can’t stand to put weight on it. An Achilles tendon rupture is not something you can ignore, nor should you. If it is not treated properly, it will be weaker and prone to re-injury the rest of your life.
Why Your Achilles Ruptures
This tendon, the largest in your body, connects your calf muscle to your heel bone. It allows you to stand on your toes, climb stairs, run, and jump. Damage to this band of tissue can seriously impact your daily activities. There are many things that make you liable to this injury: flat feet, overuse, jogging on hard surfaces, trauma to the ankle, tight calf muscles, suddenly trying a more vigorous exercise routine, or even certain medications you may have taken as a child. Worn tendons can stretch, tear, or rupture completely.
How the Achilles Heals
Two treatment types are used for Achilles tendon rupture: conservative and surgical. The conservative method involves a full cast, with the foot slightly flexed so the tendon can grow back together. You can’t move the ankle at all and must keep weight off the foot for several weeks. Gradually, you will begin to bear weight and after 6 – 10 weeks the cast is removed and a heel support is worn until the tendon has healed. Then the physical therapy begins to restore strength and range of motion. This method is recommended for you if you are elderly, diabetic, or have circulation or nerve problems that would make surgery more risky.
Athletes, younger people, and those in good health may prefer surgical repair, as there is a much lower chance of re-injury with this method. The surgery may be open (with an incision) or closed (repair done inside through several small incisions). Healing time is usually shorter with this method, but the usual surgical risks apply: a wound, chance of infection, nerve damage, and hospital time, among others. Your leg will be in a cast for several weeks, and physical therapy will follow.
Make the Right Choice
Let the expert podiatrists at Aadvanced Foot Care Associates help you decide on the best treatment for your Achilles tendon rupture, or for any other foot problem you may have. We have over 100 years of foot care know how, and specialize in sports injuries and surgery. Give one of our offices a call today: Flushing at (718) 969-2266, Plainview at (516) 822-9595, and Rego Park at (718) 896-4433. Our specialized, complementary medicine can put your feet on the path to healing and get you back to enjoying your life again without foot pain.