What is an achilles tendon rupture?
The achilles tendon is made up of many strong fibres and connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. This powerful tendon provides the power to push off in walking and running.
Did you know?
The achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body.
Unfortunately this tendon can partially tear or completely tear/rupture. A partial tear is when some of the fibres are torn but the rest remain in place and a rupture is when the fibres are fully severed. A rupture most commonly occurs during activities that involve forceful movements through the tendon or sudden changes in direction eg. tennis and basketball.
Did you know?
The majority of people won’t have had previous niggles or symptoms from the tendon.
How can Podiatry help with achilles tendon rupture?
Diagnosis- A thorough physical examination alongside a referral for imaging tests should be carried out (ultrasound imaging or MRI).
Conservative management- Initial immobilisation of the tendon for up to 8 weeks (often via a removable boot or “beckham boot”), rest, pain management and elevation.
Did you know?
David Beckham, Russel Crowe and Dame Judi Dench have all ruptured their achilles during their careers.
Rehabilitation is a crucial element of the healing process and can reduce the risk of another rupture in the future. It is gradually introduced after immobilisation and will involve strengthening exercises for the achilles and the surrounding structures. Building up the neighbouring muscle as well as the achilles will help reinforce and stabilise the tendon leading to lesser risk of future injury. Your podiatrist will work alongside you to create a rehabilitation programme specific to your individual needs.
Although conservative care is becoming more favoured in the treatment of an achilles rupture, surgery can be indicated in some cases. If your podiatrist feels that this option may be more suitable for you and your injury then a referral for a surgical opinion can be undertaken.
Reducing the risk of achilles tendon rupture
- Ensure you stretch thoroughly before and after exercise, warm ups & stretch after
- Gradually increase the intensity of exercise, back to the gym programme
- Avoid activities that put undue strain on your achilles eg. hill running
- Wear well fitted supportive footwear
- Rest at the sign of pain
- More info on what we offer with MSK assessments
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Holm C, Kjaer M, Eliasson P. (2015) Achilles tendon rupture-treatment and complications: a systematic review. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 25(1):1-10.
Vidhi Adukia, Nimra Akram, Sherif Ahmed Kamel, Aashish Gulati, Mark B. Davies, Jitendra Mangwani (2023) Surgical treatment of chronic achilles tendon rupture: An anatomical consideration of various autograft options. Journal of Orthopaedics, 44(October 2023):107-112.
Park YH, Kim TJ, Choi GW, Kim HJ (2019) Achilles tendinosis does not always precede Achilles tendon rupture. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 27(10):3297-3303.