Achilles Rupture Treatment

Achilles rupture is a severe issue that needs urgent medical attention. By turning to a specialized healthcare professional, you can ensure to get proper treatment before your injury causes serious complications.

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At Rogers Foot & Ankle, we specialize in foot and ankle treatment which includes ruptured Achilles tendons. Our Utah County experts can diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate your Achilles tendon tear or rupture.

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What is an Achilles Rupture?

The Achilles tendon or fibrous tissue is located at the back of your foot. It acts as a connective cord between your heel bone and the muscles on your calf's back. If this tendon breaks or tears due to any reason, the injury is identified as an Achilles tendon rupture.

Achilles rupture can be quite painful and affects your ability to walk or put pressure on your foot. Due to this reason, the condition often requires urgent medical attention, which is typically provided in the form of surgery. However, some cases of Achilles rupture can be treated without surgical intervention.

It is also important to note that some Achilles tendon rupture injuries only cause mild pain or show no symptoms at all. In such a case, the patient may not even know they have an Achilles rupture until they seek medical attention. But to recover fully, you must reach out to a healthcare professional even if you experience mild symptoms.

Achilles rupture is often associated with athletes or those with a physically exerting lifestyle. However, the injury can affect anyone due to several causes.

What Causes Achilles Tendon Rupture?

Achilles tendon rupture is mainly associated with exertion or stress on the fibrous tissue or your foot's heel. However, that is not the only reason behind it. Achilles tendon injuries can stem from several issues that are not related to athletic activity. 

Since the tendon is the primary connective tissue between your heel bone and your calf muscles, it is used virtually every time you move your foot thoroughly or walk even a small distance. As a result, encountering sudden issues in your everyday activity can also cause the tendon to break. This includes slips, falls, twists, or abrupt pressure of any kind.

Apart from unforeseen accidents, the Achilles tendon can also be affected by poor blood flow. This effect is magnified by underlying health issues such as diabetes. The chronic strain on your muscles that comes with older age can also contribute to your risk. In such cases, your fibrous tissue becomes prone to Achilles rupture. 

How Do You Know If Your Achilles Tendon is Torn or Ruptured?

When your Achilles tendon is torn or ruptured, you may hear an odd yet distinct popping noise from your foot. Even when you cannot make out the sound, the intense pain and discomfort at your heel are a strong indication of the injury. 

Every time you take a step, your Achilles tendon is involved in the process. The same is true for pointing your foot downward and rising up onto your toes. The Achilles tendon connects the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone and overstretching that strong fibrous cord can rupture it.

Common activities like playing intense sports or recreational activities can be the cause of the Achilles tendon tear. Falling from a height or stepping in a hole can also rupture the tendon and cause you symptoms including:

Other common symptoms of Achilles rupture include:

  • Intense pain at the back of your foot, just above your heel and near your ankle.
  • Inability to move the foot properly, significant upward or downward.
  • Inability to walk or put pressure on your foot, including your toes. 
  • A change in the appearance of your foot, including bruising and swelling.

What Does It Look Like?

An Achilles rupture injury often has visible effects, including swelling and sudden bruising at the back of your foot. 

The swelling causes your foot to become tender, and bruising turns your skin’s color to a bluish purple. The bruising is often deeper in color if you have a dark skin tone.

How Long Does It Take to Recover an Achilles Rupture? Can It Heal Itself?

An Achilles rupture refers to an Achilles tendon that is torn either completely or partially. Your recovery time and approach depends upon the extent of damage to your tendon. However, even when your Achilles tendon is partially damaged, medical advice is needed to supervise healing and recovery.

An Achilles rupture refers to an Achilles tendon that is torn either completely or partially. Your recovery time and approach depends upon the extent of damage to your tendon. However, even when your Achilles tendon is partially damaged, medical advice is needed to supervise healing and recovery.

Partial Tear

If the injury causes a partial tear in your fibrous tissue, it can heal with proper rest, ice packs, and a cast or special footwear. More often than not, it may also require physical therapy sessions after the initial resting period to ensure that your foot is healing and moving properly. 

This process often requires a few weeks. The time duration depends upon the extent of your injury and can typically take 6-8 weeks. You may need additional physical therapy sessions after this period has passed.

Complete Tear

If the injury results in a complete rupture of your tendon, it may need surgery or intensive treatments. The surgery is intensive and requires an extended period of rest as well as post-surgery precautionary measures. This may also include putting on a cast or other type of protective wear over your foot. Physical therapy is also required. 

Recovering from a complete Achilles tendon rupture may take a few months. In some cases, the recovery time may range around six months. However, surgery is often the best approach to restore a damaged tendon and reduce the risk of repeated injury after recovery. 

How to Prevent Achilles Tendon Rupture

The risk of an Achilles tendon rupture may increase with age. As we grow older, our feet' regular strain can take its toll on all related muscles, tissues, and associated structures. This also affects the Achilles tendon. When coupled with everyday activities, this can increase adults' risk in their 20s to 40s to experience an Achilles rupture.

It is why it's important to practice caution during your daily activities. While this doesn’t completely eradicate the possibility of an Achilles rupture, it does lower it. 

Some of the prevention suggestions include:

  • Avoiding running uneven paths. Putting your foot into bumpy landings at a fast pace can cause your Achilles tendon to rupture. Making sure that you are making your cardio runs on even surfaces can steer clear from this risk. 
  • Stretching properly before exercising. Before you start any exercise, you must stretch your muscles properly to ensure that your Achilles tendon doesn’t have to put up with sharp snaps of movement.
  • Putting care towards intense athletic activity. If you plan to take on an intense workout or performance routine, make sure to lean into it slowly. Start small and gradually improve your regime's intensity, so your Achilles tendon does not get extensively affected by sudden pressure.

How Painful is a Snapped Achilles?

A snapped or ruptured Achilles can be extremely painful. The pain can get to the point where you are unable to move your foot at all. It can also render you unable to put pressure on your toes or move your foot downward. 

If you stand on your foot or try to walk right after an Achilles rupture, this pain can worsen. Simultaneously, putting stress on a torn Achilles tendon can also increase the damage for your fibrous tissue.

This is why it's incredibly crucial that you seek medical attention immediately after experiencing an Achilles tendon rupture. This allows you to manage your pain in the short-term and helps you treat your torn fibrous tissue's main problem.

What Happens If Achilles Rupture Goes Untreated?

Without any medical intervention, an untreated Achilles rupture may heal poorly or not at all, causing long-term problems for your mobility and comfort. 

If your Achilles tendon rupture is not mended through medical expertise, the tear or damage you experienced can grow over time. It may cause you to feel extensive weakness, constant pain, or extreme discomfort in your foot, especially when you try to move it. These issues can increase over time when you try to put pressure on your foot or walk normally. 

As a result, an untreated Achilles tendon rupture can render you unable to participate in any athletic activity that requires your body's full movement or legs. 

Do You Need Surgery for a Ruptured Achilles?

Surgery is often the first line of treatment for an Achilles tendon rupture, especially when torn completely. Depending upon the level of damage to your fibrous tissue, this surgery can be intensive. But it gives you a better chance of recovery. It also allows you to have a more vital tendon after extensive damage as opposed to non-surgical procedures.

The approach varies upon the extent of injury to your Achilles tendon. But it ranges between minimally invasive procedures and open surgeries. 

Minimally invasive procedures involve small incisions at the back of your foot and sewing the tendon together. Open procedures require larger incisions and may also need a tendon graft to repair your damaged Achilles tendon. 

In both cases, the damaged Achilles tendon has excellent chances of recovery. The post-surgery practices involve the cast and physical therapy, which ensures that your tendon heals appropriately and doesn’t cause any long term issues.

How Long to Recover From a Ruptured Achilles Tendon

The recovery time from a ruptured Achilles tendon depends mostly upon the extent of your injury. 

With the help of medical intervention, you may typically experience the initial signs of recovery within 1-2 months, where you can resume walking and essential mobility. 

It might take 3-4 months for you to make a full recovery and participate in athletic activities. But this time can be extended based upon your injury and its response to treatment. For some people, this can take six months or longer before they can fully resume exerting activities.

Ruptured Achilles Treatment Solutions

An Achilles tendon rupture is a treatable injury that can be managed with timely medical intervention. The quicker you reach out to a doctor after experiencing a ruptured Achilles tendon, the better chances you have of making a full recovery without any issues. 

Once you reach out to a healthcare professional, they can recommend the best course of action depending upon your specific case. This includes choosing between minimally invasive procedures and open surgeries and deciding whether you may need surgery at all. 

Since many factors can influence this decision, you must move forward with them after receiving personalized medical advice. This ensures that you explore your options with a specialized healthcare professional who can help you find the right treatment solutions for your specific Achilles tendon injury.

Achilles Tendon Rupture Surgery

When it comes to Achilles tendon tear treatment, there are both surgical and non-surgical methods. Deciding which route to take will depend on your age, activity level, and severity of the injury. Rest, ice application, over-the-counter pain relievers, and immobilization of the tendon can effectively repair an injured tendon.

However, severe ruptures may need more invasive surgical procedures in order to repair the Achilles tendon tear. The procedure involves an incision in the back of the lower leg and stitching of the torn tendon together. As with any surgery, there are risks of complications such as infection and nerve damage. Our specialists at Rogers Foot & Ankle will discuss your options with you and help you decide on the best course of action for your injury.

Achilles Tendon Rupture Rehabilitation

After your surgery or following your period of rest and immobilization, you will likely need rehabilitation to bring you back to your peak performance and activity level. Physical therapy exercises are designed to strengthen your leg muscles and the tendon itself. After about 4 to 6 months, most patients are able to return to their normal activities.

At Rogers Foot & Ankle, we know that each patient heals and recovers from their injuries differently, so we take time and care to ensure you are comfortable with your post-surgery rehabilitation. We give your Achilles tendon the time and attention it needs to fully recover and get you back on your feet.

We are here to help you find sure footing in life. Schedule an appointment with our experienced Achilles tendon rupture doctors. We can also treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including:

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