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Achilles Tendon Rupture: Causes, Treatment and Rehabilitation

Over-stretching of the Achilles tendon can result in a partial or complete tear. This condition in turn triggers an inflammatory process that causes pain and movement problems.

An Achilles tendon rupture is an injury of the fibrous cord that connects the muscles behind the calf with the heel bone. It’s common in individuals who practice sports activities, even though it’s also related to being obese and taking certain medications.

It occurs when the tendon suffers a partial or total tear attributable to stretching that exceeds its capability. Often, this example is the consequence of a forced jump, sudden accelerations when running, or an excessive amount of pressure. It may well even be brought on by a fall or any trauma to the realm.

Its foremost symptoms include pain and inability to walk; these can vary in intensity depending on the severity of the injury. Nevertheless, more often than not it may possibly be treated with physical therapy and exercises. Do you need to know more about it? Discover more about its causes and in regards to the rehabilitation process.

What are the causes of an Achilles tendon rupture?

The Achilles tendon is a band of tissue that runs across the back of the lower leg. It’s accountable for attaching the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles to the calcaneal bone. This band, which can be generally known as the ‘heel cord’, propels the foot off the bottom and permits you to walk, run, or jump.

Typically, the rupture occurs at the purpose of the tendon that’s positioned about 6 centimeters (just over 2 inches) from where it attaches to the heel bone. It’s more than likely to occur when the leg is prolonged and the calf muscle is contracted.

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Risk aspects

Some varieties of athletes usually tend to suffer Achilles tendon injuries.

As detailed in a publication within the Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, Achilles tendon rupture occurs more incessantly during sports. Middle-aged men – especially untrained athletes – are more in danger in comparison with younger men.

Other risk aspects identified include the next:

  • A sudden increase within the pressure exerted on the Achilles heel
  • Regular practice of sports that involve jumping
  • Trips, falls, or accidents
  • Treatment with steroid injections
  • Prolonged consumption of antibiotic medications
  • Anatomical deviations
  • Extra weight and obesity
  • Chronic inflammation or rheumatoid arthritis

Symptoms of the rupture of the Achilles tendon

On occasions, the rupture of the Achilles tendon heals itself asymptomatically. Nevertheless, attributable to its severity or lack of treatment, it may cause the next clinical manifestations:

  • The feeling of getting received a blow to the calf
  • The shortcoming to bend the foot or stand on tiptoe
  • Abnormal gait
  • Inability to propel the injured leg forward when walking
  • Hearing a snap or crackle when the injury occurs
  • Difficulty climbing stairs
  • Bruising or swelling within the leg or foot


To make a diagnosis of an Achilles tendon rupture, the physician will begin with a physical examination of the affected area. First, he or she’s going to inspect the calf for signs of tenderness or swelling. At this point, you could feel an area if the tendon is totally ruptured.

In the following step, the practitioner will ask the patient to perform a series of movements and exercises to find out range of motion and muscle strength. If the Achilles tendon is ruptured, the person can have less ability to push down or lean on the toes.

Additional diagnostic tests may include ultrasound or MRI. These procedures are painless and are supposed to create images of the body’s tissues to learn the precise extent of the injury.

Read more here: 24 Common Injuries in Dancers

Achilles tendon rupture treatment

To design an appropriate treatment for a ruptured Achilles tendon, the practitioner must consider necessary aspects equivalent to age, lifestyle, and severity of the injury. Sometimes, especially in the event that they’re athletes, people select surgery to repair the tendon.

Nevertheless, before resorting to this measure as a substitute, there are some care and habits that support the recovery process with a positive prognosis. Let’s see it intimately.

Non-surgical treatment

Non-surgical treatment of Achilles tendon rupture avoids risks related to surgery, equivalent to infection. Nevertheless, its drawback is that recovery may take longer and the injury may recur. These measures include the next:

  • Use of crutches. This can be a measure suggested by the orthopedic physical therapist to maintain the tendon at rest.
  • Placing ice on the affected area. The applying of ice compresses for 15 to twenty minutes, every 4 to six hours, helps to cut back pain and inflammation.
  • Take over-the-counter analgesics and anti inflammatory drugs. These help control pain and swelling.
  • Keep the ankle at rest for the primary few weeks.
  • Do recovery exercises guided by a physical therapist.

Surgical intervention

For complete or severe breaks, surgical resolution could also be crucial. The specialist trained for that is the traumatologist.

Surgery to repair the Achilles tendon is a procedure that involves an incision within the lower leg. Through this, the torn tendon is reattached by the use of stitches.

Now, as detailed in a study shared through Frontiers in Surgery, surgical operation decreases the speed of re-rupture, but has the next rate of complications in comparison with conservative treatment.


The rehabilitation technique of an Achilles tendon rupture features a series of physical therapy exercises that aim to strengthen the muscles of the leg and, in fact, the tendon. More often than not there’s a full recovery in a period of 4 to six months.

It’s very necessary to comply with this plan hand in hand with an expert, because the exercises must be implemented step by step. That’s to say, their level of intensity will change because the recovery phase progresses.

Alternatively, there’s a variety of rehabilitation generally known as ‘functional rehabilitation‘. This consists of performing some weight-bearing exercises, focused on the ankle, that are often done in the primary few weeks after the injury. In reality, they’re put into practice while the person remains to be wearing their immobilization device.

A review of studies shared by Foot and Ankle Clinics reported that these kinds of therapies can offer similar results to surgical operation. After all, it should be done within the hands of a physical therapy skilled. The concept is to recuperate mobility and physical performance.

Once the recovery process is accomplished, the chance of getting a brand new trauma increases. Due to this fact, it’s necessary to take preventive measures equivalent to the next:

  • Keep in good condition and do warm-up and stretching exercises before any sports practice.
  • Avoid high heels or shoes which are inappropriate for sports.
  • Ask your doctor if you happen to can play tennis, basketball, and other sports.
  • Maintain a healthy weight-reduction plan.
  • Avoid being obese.

What to recollect:

An Achilles tendon rupture may cause pain and limited movement. Even though it most frequently affects athletes, anyone can suffer from it, whether attributable to an accident, improper sports practice, or being obese.

In lots of cases, it improves after a period of rest and physiotherapy. Nevertheless, surgery is typically required. Due to this fact, if there’s any suspicion it might be this injury, it’s best to go to the doctor in order that he can guide you and provide you with probably the most appropriate treatment in accordance with your individual case.

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