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I Think I Tore my Achilles Tendon, Now What?

I think I tore my Achilles tendon, now what?

The Achilles tendon is that long, thick tendon at the back of your ankle that helps you propel yourself forward when walking and jumping. It is the strongest tendon in your entire body, but being the strongest tendon does not prevent it from getting injured. Partial or complete tears of this tendon can occur.

There are three things that most commonly lead to rupture. The most common is your weekend warrior who experiences muscle fatigue quickly leading to injury. Use of quinolone antibiotics like ciprofloxacin can also weaken the tendon.  Finally, injection of steroids in close proximity to the tendon can also lead to injury.   

Tears occur when we rapidly push on our foot, like jumping quickly, or when making a rapid change of direction. The injury feels like a sudden kick to the back of the ankle and often you can even hear an audible snap. Initially the injury can be very painful but after a few days pain usually improves and may not be painful at all, but walking is very difficult.

 Treatments can include placement in a below the knee cast, but more frequently surgical repair is indicated to re-approximate the ruptured ends allowing for a faster return to normal activities and reduced risk of re-rupture in the future. Unfortunately, if left untreated it can result in weakness of the calf muscle and instability when walking.  

If you have any symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture, you should contact our office for evaluation and treatement options.