Achilles tendon rupture

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Achilles tendon rupture involves full tearing of the tendon. It is important to note that the tendon can weaken and thin out with age or from lack of use. At that point, it is prone to damage.

The injury is prevalent among those with preexisting tendinitis of the Achilles tendon. Certain ailments and drugs can also increase the risk for the injury.

Who are at risk?

  • Engaging in recreational sports that involves bursts of pivoting, jumping and running especially in basketball, racquetball and badminton.
  • Those who forcefully push-off using the foot while the knee is straightened by the strong thigh muscles.
  • Sudden stumble or trip where the foot is driven in front to break a fall which forcefully overstretches the tendon.
  • Falls from a significant height or suddenly stepping into a hole or off the curb
    Achilles tendon rupture
    Abrupt and intense ankle pain at the back part.

What are the signs?

  • Abrupt and intense ankle pain at the back part
  • Sound of a loud snapping or popping can be perceived at the time of injury
  • A depression or gap can be sensed and evidently seen in the tendon.
  • Primary discomfort or pain, inflammation and rigidity might be followed by weakness and bruising.
  • Difficulty or inability to stand on tiptoe and pushing off while walking

Management of Achilles tendon rupture

The aim of treatment is to restore the normal length and tension of the Achilles tendon as well as enable the individual to perform normal activities before the injury.

Protection is vital to allow time for healing as well as prevent reinjury. It is also necessary to move the affected foot and ankle to prevent rigidity and loss of muscular tone.

The treatment options might be conventional or surgical. In both cases, it requires an initial period of around 6 weeks of using a cast or special brace. The cast might be changed at 2-4-week intervals to steadily stretch the tendon to its normal length. Take note that the cast might be combined with early movement to improve flexibility and strength.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on an Achilles tendon rupture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the indications and how it is managed, register for a first aid and CPR course with Victoria First Aid.

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