Achilles tendon rupture is a condition where the Achilles tendon is torn which can be partial or complete. In a partial tear, the affected area is partly torn but still connected to the calf muscle while complete tears involve complete tearing and the link between the ankle bone and calf muscle is lost.
The Achilles tendon is a vital component of the leg that is located at the rear region and upper part of the heel. It serves as a connection between the heel bone and the calf muscles. It is responsible for the bending of the foot downwards at the ankle.
Causes of Achilles tendon rupture
- Increasing the level of physical activity too suddenly
- Wearing high-heeled shoes that put plenty of stress on the tendon
- Common in people participating in gymnastics, dancing, playing football, baseball, basketball, tennis, volleyball and running.
- Problems with the feet such as flat feet or overpronaton.
- Muscles and tendons found in the leg are too tight.
- Injuries such as falls and a deep cut at the back of the ankle
- Conditions such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
- A snap or popping sound can be heard immediately after the injury
- Severe pain can be felt when the tendon is torn or ruptured
- Tenderness, swelling and stiffness of the affected area
- Pain on the back of the foot and above the heel especially when stretching the ankle or standing on the toes
- Incapable of flexing the foot or pointing the toes when there is complete tearing of the tendons.
- Take plenty of rest especially the affected Achilles tendon. Avoid putting weigth on the affected leg. Use crutches to prevent unnecessary movements and promote fast healing.
- Apply an ice pack on the affected leg to lessen the swelling and pain. Apply the pack on the area for at least 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days until the pain is eliminated.
- Compress the leg using an elastice bandage around the lower leg and ankle to lessen swelling.
- Elevate the leg on pillows when sitting or lying down to lessen the pain and inflammation.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication such as ibuprofen and naproxen to lessen the pain and swelling.
- Use inserts for the shoes while recovering from the condition to protect the Achilles tendon.
- Start performing stretching and strengthening exercises with the help of the physical therapist.
- Avoid running on hard or slippery surfaces. Wear proper clothing for cold-weather training and well-fitting athletic shoes that cushions the heel properly.
- Stretch and strengthen the calf muscles until a pull can be felt without pain. Strengthening exercises for the calf makes the muscles and tendons strong and prevent injuries.
- Alternate high-impact sports such as running with low-impact sports such as biking, walking or swimming. Avoid performing activities that puts excessive stress on the Achilles tendon such as jumping activities and running on hills.
Disclaimer / More Information
The material posted on this page on Achilles tendon rupture is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage tendon injuries including Achilles tendon rupture by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.