Achilles Tendon Rupture
Factors that may increase your chance of getting Achilles tendon rupture include:
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Recent increase in activity level
- Weak or inflexible calf muscles
- Previous Achilles tendon rupture
- Involvement in sports that involve running, jumping, twisting, or lunging
- Improper footwear
- Certain medications, such as quinolone antibiotics or corticosteroids, which weaken the tendon
- Collagen vascular diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and scleroderma
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options may include the one or more of the following:
You will need time to heal. RICE and immediate medical care are often the first part of treatment:
- Rest—Activities will need to be restricted.
- Ice—Ice therapy may help relieve swelling.
- Compression—Used for a limited time, compression bandages can provide gentle pressure to help move fluids out of the area.
- Elevation—Keeping the area elevated can help fluids drain out or prevent fluids from building up.
Crutches or a walker may be advised to protect the healing tendon.
Prescription or over-the-counter medication may be advised to reduce pain.
Surgery is the most common treatment for this condition. An incision is made in the lower leg and the tendon is sewn back together. A cast, splint, walking boot, or brace is worn for 6-8 weeks. One of the benefits of surgery is that it lowers the risk of re-rupturing the tendon. Surgery may also be a better option if you are physically active.
The other option is to allow your tendon to heal without surgery. In this case, you also need to wear a cast, splint, walking boot, or brace for 6-8 weeks. You also may have different exercises to do. If you are less active or have a chronic illness that prevents surgery, this option may be better for you.
A physical therapist will assess the tendon. An exercise program will be created to help recovery and to strengthen the muscles.
To help reduce your chance of getting Achilles tendon rupture, take the following steps:
- Do warm-up exercises before an activity and cool down exercises after an activity.
- Wear proper footwear.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Rest if you feel pain during an activity.
- Change your routine. Switch between high-impact activities and low-impact activities.
- Strengthen your calf muscles with exercises.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Rupture, Achilles Tendon; Severely Torn Achilles Tendon)
American Podiatric Medical Association http://www.apma.org
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Canadian Physiotherapy Association http://www.physiotherapy.ca
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