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Achilles Tendon Rupture and Repair

When your Achilles tendon gets ruptured, you will feel a snap right away near the heel. This is followed by a sharp pain in your heel, and difficulty walking.

If you just had these symptoms, it’s best you see a Physical therapist immediately. Early diagnosis, means early treatment, and a quicker time to get you back to your normal activities.

Contact a therapist today.

What is Tendon Rupture?
An Achilles tendon rupture occurs when the Achilles tendon that attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone gets torn. This tear can either be a partial tear, or a complete tear. Achilles tendon rupture differs from Achilles tendonitis. Achilles tendonitis is caused by repetitive stress to the Achilles tendon which results in inflammation. There may be tiny tears over time, but in an Achilles tendon rupture, the tear is abrupt and sudden.
Causes of Achilles Tendon Rupture
Your Achilles tendon enables you to walk, run, jump, point your feet downward, and stand on your toes. Rupture to the tendon usually occurs just a few inches (2 1/2) above where the tendon attaches to the heel bone. Ruptures occur when too much pressure is placed on the tendon. Examples include:

Falling from a height - a horse or a building

Stepping into a hole mistakenly

Resistance placed on the foot when you jump

Increased levels of physical activity

Risk Factors for Achilles Tendon Rupture
Some Factors can contribute to the Achilles tendon getting torn. They include:


Achilles tendon rupture has been observed in persons within the age of 25 - 45 years.


Men are 5 times more prone to a rupture than women.


Achilles tendon occurs more with athletes involved in sports activities that require a lot of running, jumping, sudden stops, and change in directions. For example basketball, tennis, football, and soccer.

Steroid injections

Injections into the ankle joint to relieve pain and inflammation may over time weaken the tendon


Having too much weight puts pressure on the tendon.

Underlying illnesses

such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, thyroid disease.

You might also experience a sudden pop in your calf or heel when the tendon tears.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendon Rupture
If you have Achilles tendon rupture, you’re likely to experience:

Intense and sharp pain as the tendon tears near the heel

A snap or pop at the time of injury

The feeling of being kicked in the calf

Inability to point the foot downward

Difficulty or inability to walk and bear weight on the leg

Diagnosing Achilles Tendon Rupture
If you suspect a torn Achilles tendon, a physical therapist at Polygon PT will examine your lower leg. Your therapist will look out for swelling and tenderness and might be able to feel the gap if the tendon completely ruptures. Another test your therapist will perform is to squeeze your calf while you lie on your stomach with your feet hanging over the exam table. If your feet don’t flex automatically while your calf is squeezed, you have a ruptured Achilles tendon. To determine the extent of the rupture (partial or complete), your therapist may require that you undergo an imaging test with your doctor such as an X-Ray.
Achilles Tendon Rupture Repair
Two treatment options are available for Achilles tendon rupture; conservative treatment and surgery. The one you chose will depend on your level of activity, and the severity of the tear. If you are an athlete and need to get back to your activities as soon as possible, surgery is recommended. Surgery is also recommended for young and active persons. However, for older persons, less active persons, and those with underlying issues such as the inability to heal wounds, non-surgical treatment is recommended. Physical therapy and rehab are vital for treating ruptured Achilles tendons. If you are not opting for surgery, your therapist will design a program to help recover you quickly. This will likely include:
Prior to commencing therapy, your leg will be put in a cast for up to 10 weeks to allow the tendon to heal properly. If you are opting for surgery, your therapist will prepare you before, and help you to recover after surgery. Open surgery (large incision to the calf) or arthroscopic surgery (small incisions, and using an arthroscope) are the options available. Your surgeon will discuss both with you. During surgery, the ruptured tendon is stitched back together. If a part of the tendon is damaged, it’s removed. Your leg will be immobilized in a cast for a couple of weeks. Once the tendon has healed, post-operative rehab will begin. Returning to normal activities will take a couple of months depending on the extent of the tear.
Get Started with Physical Therapy and Rehab for Achilles Tendon Rupture Today
If you suspect a torn Achilles tendon, request an appointment with a physical therapist right now. Let’s get you living a pain-free life.