The human body is a complex system comprised of bones, muscles, organs, tendons, veins, and other integral parts. The foot is tricky, and patients frequently injure more than just a bone or a ligament when they sustain a foot or ankle injury.
One of the essential parts of the makeup of the foot is the Achilles tendon. This tendon is located behind and above the heel and joins the heel bone to the calf muscles. Because of this connection, it plays a vital role in the functionality of our feet. It enables the foot to bend downward at the ankle joint (plantar flexion).
When the Achilles tendon has been injured, the repercussions could be severe on the function of the injured leg. If an Achilles tendon rupture occurs, there will likely be a lot of lost leg strength, pain, and discomfort.
Suppose you are suffering from a partial tear or wholly torn Achilles tendon. In that case, you may need to contact an experienced podiatrist to discuss your situation and determine what treatment plan will work best for your acute Achilles tendon rupture. In Saratoga Springs, UT, the foot and ankle specialists at Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute can get your Achilles tendon rupture diagnosed and develop a customized treatment plan for you.
What Is an Achilles Tendon Rupture?
An Achilles tendon tear also called a ruptured Achilles tendon, is the partial or complete separation of the connecting tissue between the heel bone and the calf muscles. The tendon is only partially torn for a partial Achilles tendon rupture, but there is still a connection to the calf muscle. As the name would indicate, a complete Achilles tendon rupture is a complete severing of that connection.
Those who have sustained an Achilles tendon rupture will be unable to get up onto their tiptoes and may have a flat-footed walk. While it is always best to prevent Achilles tendon injuries, patients who have already been injured may require various treatment options, including a brace, physical therapy, or even Achilles tendon repair surgery.
Because Achilles tendon tears are severe and can cause sudden sharp pain, a medical professional must examine your injury by a medical professional who will determine the best course of action. Medical treatment depends on several factors, and a torn tendon will not heal on its own without medical intervention.
Causes of a Ruptured Achilles Tendon
Achilles tendons, like other tendons throughout the body, have a breaking point. If they have too much stress or force, they may rupture. Sports requiring a forceful push from the foot, such as football and running, have a high frequency of Achilles tendon ruptures.
Another common way the tendon rupture can occur is through a fall where the foot must suddenly face upward. The sudden movement will stretch the tendon and may lead to a rupture. Injuries involving a deep cut to the back of the ankle may reach the Achilles tendon.
Suppose you have a weakened tendon due to corticosteroid injections near the tendon, Cushing’s Syndrome, Achilles tendinopathy, or other chronic medical conditions. In that case, you may be putting your tendon at risk of a rupture.
Treatments for Achilles Tendon Injuries
You will have two primary treatment methods after a professional medical diagnosis of an Achilles tendon rupture. The first is the non-invasive, nonsurgical treatment where your leg is placed in a brace or plaster cast, preventing movement and allowing the tendon time for the healing process.
The other option involves orthopedic surgery in which the surgeon will sew the torn ends of the Achilles tendon back together. You may need a tendon graft to assist with the repair. Following the surgery, you will be placed in that brace or plaster case to prevent injury and take the strain off the tendon.
Surgery is usually the option for those with an active lifestyle because the recovery time is faster, and the risk of re-rupturing the tendon is significantly reduced. Those who are less active, older, or do not want to undergo surgery will opt for the natural healing of the brace.
Healing Time for Achilles Tendon Ruptures
If you have a ruptured Achilles tendon, the healing process can take anywhere between 6-8 weeks. Most people will need to take several weeks off of work to recover, and those who wish to return to athletic activity may be able to do so within 4 to 12 months.
The body needs time to regain strength in the injured leg’s muscles after being immobilized for an extended period. It’s hard to say how long the recovery will take, so you should contact your foot and ankle specialist for an idea of what time frame works best with yours.
As with every surgery, possible complications may extend the healing time. A wound infection, blood clot, re-rupture, or tissue scarring may occur, and these issues will certainly make the recovery process longer.
Contact Our Foot and Ankle Surgeons After an Achilles Tendon Injury Occurs
Are you suffering from a ruptured tendon in the back of your leg (also known as an Achilles tendon rupture)? You must have your injury examined and diagnosed by a medical professional such as an orthopedic surgeon to ensure that you receive the proper treatment and get back to your everyday life as soon as possible.
At Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute in Saratoga Springs, UT, our team is here to help you through your rupture and ensure the tendon heals as expected. We will discuss your treatment options with you and answer any questions about orthopedic surgery, physical therapy, and other recovery methods. Call us at 801-756-4200 today to schedule your appointment.