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Achilles Tendon Rupture Treatment in Glendale, CA

Medical infographic of achilles tendon illustration

What is an Achilles Tendon Rupture

The Achilles tendon is located on the back of the ankle. Tendons connect muscle to bone. The Achilles tendon attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone (calcaneus). Achilles tendon ruptures occur when a plantarflexed foot (foot pointing down) is suddenly dorsiflexed (foot pointed up) with force. This typically occurs during sports. Patients will describe being kicked or shot in the heel and will sometimes fall. Immediate pain behind the ankle will occur. This injury occurs most often in men in their 30s or 40s. However, injury can occur at any age and with any activity level.

How do You Treat an Achilles Tendon Rupture?

Initial treatment consists of a history and physical exam with an orthopedic specialist. Weakness to plantarflexion (pointing foot down) is a sign. An MRI scan can be used to confirm the diagnosis and assess the location of the torn tendon and degree of damage. A splint or boot is used to immobilize the area to reduce pain and swelling.

Definitive treatment depends on a patient’s age, activity level and medical history. Surgical treatment is recommended for young, active individuals. Surgery consists of suturing the ends of the tendon back together. Sometimes, suture anchors are used to secure the stitches into the heel bone to enhance the integrity of the repair. This surgery is done as an outpatient.

What is the Recovery Time for an Achilles Tendon Ruptures?

A post-operative physical therapy protocol is followed. Patients are in a splint for 1-2 weeks followed by a removable boot for about 6 weeks. Full weight bearing is allowed around 6-8 weeks after surgery. Full recovery can take 6-9 months.

Can Achilles Tendon Ruptures be Treated Without Surgery?

Elderly and sedentary patients, and those with medical risk factors like diabetes, obesity, and smoking, can do well with non-operative treatment. This is done in a boot for 6-8 weeks with physical therapy. Some weakness with ankle flexion may be noticed with non-operative treatment, and re-rupture is more common, but this does not typically impair daily function or walking for these lower demand individuals.

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