An Achilles tendon injury is one of the more serious sports injuries, for professional and amateur athletes alike.
The Achilles tendon is one of the longer tendons in your body, stretching from the bones of your heel to your calf muscles. You can feel it — a springy band of tissue at the back of your ankle and above your heel. It allows you to extend your foot and point your toes to the floor.
Achilles Tendon Rupture Causes
The Achilles tendon can grow weak and thin with age and lack of use. Then it becomes prone to injury or rupture. Achilles tendon rupture is more common in those with preexisting tendinitis of the Achilles tendon.
Rupture most commonly occurs in the middle-aged male athlete (the weekend warrior who is engaging in a pickup game of basketball, for example). Injury often occurs during recreational sports that require bursts of jumping, pivoting, and running. Most often these are tennis, racquetball, basketball, and badminton.
The injury can happen in these situations.
- You make a forceful push-off with your foot while your knee is straightened by the powerful thigh muscles. One example might be starting a foot race or jumping.
- You suddenly trip or stumble, and your foot is thrust in front to break a fall, forcefully overstretching the tendon.
- You fall from a significant height or abruptly step into a hole or off of a curb.
What Does an Achilles Tendon Injury Feel Like?
Symptoms of an Achilles tendon injury are:
- Pain along the back of your foot and above your heel, especially when stretching your ankle or standing on your toes. Pain may be mild and worsen gradually, in cases of tendonitis. Or it can be abrupt and severe with ruptures.
- Hearing a snapping, popping noise during the injury
- Difficulty flexing your foot or pointing your toes (in complete tears of the tendon)
When to Seek Medical Care for Achilles Tendon Rupture
Tendon strain or tendon inflammation (tendonitis) can occur from tendon injury or overuse and can lead to a rupture.
See a doctor if you have signs of minor tendon problems.
- Acute calf pain and swelling can indicate a tear or partial tear of the Achilles tendon where it meets the calf muscle. You may still be able to use that foot to walk, but you will need to see a specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon. Surgery is not usually done.
- Follow up with your doctor to check for tendonitis or strain before resuming activity, because both can increase the risk of tendon rupture.
- Any acute injury causing pain, swelling, and difficulty with weight-bearing activities such as standing and walking may indicate you have a tear in your Achilles tendon.
Achilles Tendon Rupture Specialist
Or you can make an appointment here with us now!