Achilles Tendon Injuries

Achilles tendon injuries occur when they are pushed past their normal limits. Common injuries of the Achilles tendon include tendonitis (inflammation), tendinosis (degeneration), and rupture. An Achilles injury can make walking or running difficult.

What You Need To Know About Achilles Tendon Injuries

What Are The Types Of Achilles Tendon Injuries?

The Achilles tendon is the largest connective tissue in your body. The tendon spans the length between your calf muscles and heel bones.

When your Achilles tendon is pushed back to its normal limits, it is more vulnerable to many types of overuse injury. Additionally, other factors like genetically tight muscle construction can make your Achilles tendon more predisposed to injury.

The most common Achilles tendon injuries are a tear/rupture after a sudden injury or inflammation, resulting in tendinitis/tendinosis.

Learn about the difference between Achilles tendonitis and Achilles tendon tear below:

Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendonitis is a painful condition that results from excess strain on the Achilles. Often, runners who engage in intense or long runs experience Achilles tendinitis. However, Achilles tendinosis is also common in middle-aged people who participate in sports like basketball or tennis.

Achilles Tendon Tear/Rupture

Achilles Tendon Tear/Rupture is a condition where the tendon is stretched beyond its bounds, causing it to tear. An Achilles tendon rupture can be a partial or complete break. Often an Achilles tendon tear is the result of a quick leg movement that snaps the tendon. Achilles ruptures are common in sports that require sudden changes in direction.

The expert physicians at Resurgens Foot & Ankle Center are ready to help alleviate your strained Achilles. Schedule an appointment now at a location near you.

What Causes Achilles Tendon Injuries?

Almost every time you use your foot, you rely on your Achilles tendon. This is because the tendon's connection to the heel bone and calf bone makes movement possible. Even simple acts like walking or standing on tiptoes require a healthy tendon.

Many activities can cause Achilles tendon injuries. Overuse during exercise is one of the most common causes of these injuries. Sports that require quick movement changes like volleyball, baseball, tennis, or basketball are high-risk for these injuries. Runners often experience Achilles tendon injuries after suddenly starting or increasing their running program.

Age can also be a factor since the components that make up the Achilles tendon weakens depending on your stage of life. A tight Achilles predisposes you to many injuries.

Often tears occur within a few inches of where the tendon meets the heel bone. Because blood flow is constrained in this area, it is more susceptible to damage. Additional low blood flow can make it take longer for injuries to heal, delaying healing time.

Achilles Tendon Injury Symptoms

An injured tendon is a painful experience. In the case of an Achilles tear, a pop may be heard associated with sharp pain, difficulty bending your ankle downwards, and walking with a limp. In instances of Achilles tendonitis, the pain may occur gradually and worsen with walking.

Sometimes, the pain of an Achilles injury is a slight pain that grows over time. Many people report feeling stiffness or tenderness after climbing stairs or running.

Common symptoms of Achilles tendon injury include:

  • Swelling or pain near the heel

  • Being unable to bend the foot downward

  • Pain in the toes while walking

How are Achilles Tendon Injuries Diagnosed?

To properly diagnose an Achilles Tendon injury, your doctor will perform a physical exam. They may ask you to demonstrate activities—like walking and running—that may cause brief irritation. Additionally, your doctor may ask you to perform motion tests. These are short physical exercises that evaluate your ability to move.

Because Achilles tendon injury symptoms are similar to a sprained ankle, your doctor may need to verify their diagnosis with imaging. Imaging will help contextualize the extent of your tendon damage. Your doctor will use these images to develop the best treatment plan for your condition.

Achilles Tendon Injury Treatment

Getting proper care for your injury is crucial for recovery. Both non-surgical and surgical options are available for Achilles injuries. This decision is made in consultation with your Orthopedic surgeon and can be influenced by many factors that include your age, activity level, and other coexisting medical conditions.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Many Achilles tendon injuries can be alleviated with non-surgical options. Non-surgical methods for treating an Achilles tendon injury include the use of medications, cast/brace, crutches/walkers, and physical therapy.

Make sure to follow your doctor's advice for treatment. If you are using medications for pain management, please be careful as these can become habit-forming.

Surgical Treatment

Severe cases of Achilles tendon injury may require surgical intervention.

During these minimally invasive procedures, a surgeon will use an arthroscope to help repair your tendon. If your tendon is severely damaged, the surgeon may opt to reinforce your torn Achilles tendon with other tendons. These additional tendons are either repurposed from your body or a donor's.

Any bone spurs that could compromise your recovery will be removed during your surgery. Following your surgery, you will need to undergo a brief period of physical therapy and wearing a brace.

Finding lasting relief starts with a visit to Resurgens Foot & Ankle Center. Schedule an appointment with one of our experts now!

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