The Achilles tendon is one of the most commonly injured tendons, especially among athletes. A sore Achilles tendon can affect your walking, running, and sports performance. However, a ruptured Achilles tendon is much more serious and may require surgery.
What is an Achilles tendon rupture?
An Achilles tendon tear is a tear in the tendon that usually occurs during a sudden upward bend of the ankle (called dorsiflexion) or pointing of the toe (called plantar flexion).
Movements can be the result of activity or can be the result of sudden and unexpected excessive flexing of the foot beyond its normal range of motion (for example, during a fall in an accident or rolling of the ankle while walking on an uneven surface).
An Achilles tendon tear can be a partial tear (meaning your tendon is still attached to the calf muscle) or a complete tear (the tendon is completely separated; your heel is no longer attached to your calf muscle by the Achilles tendon).
If you tear your Achilles tendon, you can still walk with a limp. You can even lift your heel off the ground with some discomfort or pain.
However, if you tear your Achilles tendon, you can no longer stand still or lift your heel off the ground because the tendon that controls this movement has been torn. Pointing your finger can also be difficult. (Other symptoms of Achilles tendon rupture are listed below.)
Who usually breaks Achilles? What risks do people with an increased risk run?
* Men – About five times more likely than women to rupture their Achilles tendon.
*Anyone who starts a new or intense physical activity without first conditioning gradually
*Athletes who practice sports that require explosive start-stop movements or jumping (basketball, diving, gymnastics, tennis)
* Walkers and trekkers (especially when walking on uneven surfaces)
* People who are obese or overweight
*Older people (especially those with arthritis)
*People with a history of Achilles tendon tears or tendon injections (e.g. corticosteroids)
*People with a history of taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics, which have been shown to cause tendon weakness and rupture in some people
You are more likely to tear your Achilles tendon again if you have torn your Achilles tendon in the past but had it treated conservatively (without surgery) at the time. Also take a look at your shoes; Your risk of injury may be higher if your shoes are old, worn, or provide little support for your heels and arches.
Symptoms of a torn Achilles tendon
Some people who tear their Achilles tendon notice symptoms before the injury occurs, for example, heel pain or soreness, or a swollen ankle, which means inflammation, a small tear, or tendinitis.
Others show no signs or symptoms and may experience the break as a sudden, “sudden” injury.
Either way, if you’ve torn your Achilles tendon, you’ll experience one or more of the following:
A kink in the back of the heel, pain in the back of the ankle, sudden weakness in the affected foot/ankle, limping and difficulty walking (walking only with flat feet), inability to climb stairs or on your toes to stand (because you can no longer lift your ankle), bruising around the ankle and swelling of the foot ankle.
See a doctor immediately if you think your Achilles tendon has ruptured. If you wait to be treated, your recovery time may be longer.