Your Achilles tendon is like the chain on your bicycle. When you pedal, the chain pulls on the gear and propels you forward. When your calf muscles contract, the Achilles pull on your heel—which allows you to push off the ground and move forward. Just like a derailed or broken bike chain keeps you from pedaling forward, an Achilles tendon rupture impairs your mobility and keeps you from doing what you love.
How You Tear a Tendon
The Achilles tendon is the biggest tendon in your body. It normally handles a lot of weight, so it’s very thick. It’s also somewhat stretchy, so tearing it isn’t easy if the tissue is completely healthy. At the same time, there is a limit to its natural flexibility and strength. Pushing it past that point can partially tear or completely rupture it.
Typically ruptures are sudden accidents—something rapidly overloads the Achilles and forces it so far it tears. This can happen playing sports, falling from high up, or even just stepping in a hole you didn’t know was there. Sometimes other injuries weaken the tendon first, making it more likely to rip. Since you use it every time you take a step, or even point your foot, it is quite prone to overuse issues. Inflammation and thickening decrease its elasticity and make it more susceptible to tearing.
Are You at Risk?
An Achilles tendon rupture is a big injury for anyone. Athletes have the highest risk for it, since their activities could strain the Achilles. Weekend warriors who play sports for fun but who may not keep up their strength otherwise have a particularly high risk. They are more likely to participate in or do something that their lower limbs are not conditioned to handle. The middle-age years are also high-risk. Most people are still very active, but may not be in as good of shape as they used to be. This is particularly true for men. Whatever contributes to the problem, however, you need to take care of it right away so it heals correctly.
Achilles Rupture Surgery and Recovery
As you might imagine, tearing your Achilles is very painful and sharply limits your mobility. You might hear a popping or snapping sound when the tissue ruptures. Pain around your heel behind your ankle is the most dominating symptom. You won’t be able to rise up your heels or really even point your toes. Dr. Darren Silvester and our team will evaluate the damage to determine if it was partially or completely torn. Then we can help you proceed with the best treatment for your foot, whether that’s conservative methods or an Achilles rupture surgery.
Partial tears might only need conservative care to repair the tissue. Your foot will be immobilized in a cast for a time so the tendon knits back together. You’ll then go through physical therapy to restore your strength and tissue flexibility. If the tendon is completely ruptured, however, nonsurgical methods will probably not be enough.
Achilles rupture surgery is the best option for mobile, active people with a completely torn tendon. Dr. Darren Silvester will re-attach the torn ends of the tendon and tack them together so they can heal. You’ll then have to wear a special boot or cast to immobilize your foot. After a little while, you’ll begin physical therapy and slowly transition to weight-bearing again.
An Achilles tendon rupture is a serious injury that can have long-lasting consequences for your lower limbs. The sooner you take care of it and work on repairing the torn tissues, the more likely it will heal well. Waiting risks complications like re-rupture or chronic pain. You shouldn’t have to live with mobility issues from your Achilles tendon, and you don’t. Let Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX, take care of your injury. Make an appointment with us today by calling (210) 375-3318, or by using the online request form.