The Achilles tendon plays an essential role when it comes to your mobility. When the tendon is damaged, it can be quite frustrating, because you may have trouble doing normal daily activities like climbing stairs, much less any active, physical ones you enjoy like running. Learning about injury will help you recognize it and know when treatment is needed. Richardson Podiatry Associates not only shares information about Achilles tendon ruptures, we are also happy to provide some preventive measures to help you avoid this painful injury.
Causes and Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Rupture
The condition involves a severe tear that typically happens in response to a sudden increase in stress placed upon the tendon. These injuries are most often sustained during intense athletic activities, but there are also instances when an awkward landing or misjudged step leads to the injury.
In spite of the severity of the injury, it is actually possible not to exhibit any signs or symptoms of an Achilles rupture. More commonly, though, a patient will experience pain and swelling in the injured area around the upper back of the heel. Other symptoms might include a loud popping or snapping noise at the time of the injury or an inability to push off the ground while walking (or otherwise bend the foot downward).
Treatment – Conservative and Surgical
There are essentially two different paths of treatment – conservative and surgical care. Your decision as to which path we pursue will be based on a few different factors. These include such matters as your age, activity level, and the severity of the injury. We take all these into consideration when helping you choose an approach that makes the most sense for you when you have a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Active, younger patients may wish to consider surgical procedures. These usually entail an incision made in the back of the lower leg so we are able to stitch the torn tendon back together. When an Achilles tear is quite severe, we might need to use other, surrogate tendons to reinforce the repair.
For patients who are older and less active, we are more likely to recommend using conservative treatment methods. These options can include walking boots, casts, or special wedges. A boot or cast helps to immobilize the affected area, whereas a wedge can elevate the heel, thereby restricting the amount of movement for the damaged tendon and allowing it to heal properly.
Regardless as to the form of treatment used, rehabilitation is usually necessary. Often, this means using exercises to strengthen supporting leg muscles and the Achilles tendon itself.
Preventative Measures for Achilles Tendon Ruptures
There are some actions you can take to reduce the risk of sustaining a ruptured tendon in the first place:
- Ease into activity – Increasing physical activity levels abruptly without ramping them up increases your risk of injury. Lower the risk by beginning a new running or workout program with low levels of duration, intensity, and session frequency. Then increase your intensity and duration by 10 percent (or less) every week.
- Stretching and strengthening – Given the importance of the calf muscle in an Achilles tendon’s health, perform daily stretching to keep these stretched out and limber. Also, use exercises that improve both the strength and flexibility of your lower legs.
- Cross-training – Don’t rely exclusively on running or other high-impact activities in your workout program. Instead, incorporate low-impact exercises into your weekly schedule. Swimming, biking, and especially walking are all great options. At the same time, limit the amount of hill running and activities with jumping that you perform.
Achilles Tendon Rupture Treatment in Richardson, TX
At Richardson Podiatry Associates, we are proud to perform first-class foot and ankle care for our patients who come see us from across the greater Richardson, TX community. We are dedicated to helping patients overcome lower limb pain and impaired functionality, so give us the opportunity to provide the effective treatment you need. Either schedule your appointment with our office online today or give us a call at (972) 690-5374 and we can answer any questions you might have.