An Achilles tendon rupture is a complete tear of the Achilles tendon, which is the tendon that attaches you calf muscles to your heel bone. People who have experienced it describe a sensation like they have been kicked in the back of the ankle and they then find it difficult to place weight on the injured leg. It often occurs when sprinting, jumping or landing in younger patients or under lower load, like walking down stairs, in older patients
Who gets it and why?
The most common age group to be affected by this are men between the ages of 30 and 50. Younger patients will often injure it during exercise (under high load) and older patients under low load (due to age related degeneration in the tendon before the rupture making it weaker).
How is it diagnosed?
Can be diagnosed clinically by a doctor or physiotherapist, an ultrasound or MRI will often be organised to confirm the diagnosis.
How is it treated?
You will need to be reviewed by an orthopaedic surgeon for an opinion on management. They will determine if you require surgery (which is the most likely management option) or if you can be managed with casting of your ankle.
Post surgery or casting, you will require physiotherapy rehabilitation. Most patients take 1-2 years to return to normal activities (longer than one year is often for athletes and makes reference to performance to the level they expect. They will return to sport often after 9-12 months but power and explosiveness can take two years to recover).
Physiotherapy is an integral part to recover from an Achilles tendon rupture. You will be given post surgical guidelines by your orthopaedic surgeon, and then progress through a retraining and strengthening program. You will see your physiotherapist frequently initially, and once your motion and flexibility have returned, you will dedicate the bulk of your rehabilitation to the strengthening and balance components of your rehabilitation for your Achilles tendon rupture. Be certain to give your tendon the best rehabilitation for Achilles tendon repair surgery or you may not achieve the results you desire.