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  • June 26, 2021

How do you manage an Achilles tendon rupture?

The Achilles tendon is one of the most powerful tendon in the body. The Achilles tendon attaches our leg muscles to the heel bone, therefore transmits the forces from your calf muscles through to the foot for walking and running. One considerable physiological disadvantage of the Achilles tendon would be that it and also the calf muscles is a two-joint construction. Because of this the tendon and the calf muscles crosses two joints – the knee along with the ankle joint. When in the course of exercise the 2 joints will be moving in opposite directions, in this case the ankle is dorsiflexing at the same time that the knee will be extending, then the load on the tendon is relatively substantial and if there may be a weakness or issue with the tendon it might possibly tear or break. This tends to take place in sports such as tennis or volleyball where there are lot of abrupt stop and start movements.

When the Achilles tendon does rupture  it is usually really dramatic. Occasionally there is an audible snap, although sometimes there may be no pain and the athlete simply drops down as they loose all power from the leg muscles through to the foot. There are lots of video clips of the tendon rupturing in athletes to be found in places like YouTube. A basic search there will find them. The video clips clearly show how striking the rupture is, just how simple it appears to occur and exactly how straight away disabling it can be in the athlete as soon as it happens. Clinically a rupture of the tendon is quite clear to diagnose and evaluate, as once they contract the calf muscles, the foot will not likely move. When standing they are unable to raise on to the toes. The Thompson test is a test that when the calf muscle is squeezed, then the foot should plantarflex. If the tendon is ruptured, then this doesn't happen.

The first-aid approach to an Achilles tendon rupture is ice and pain alleviation as well as the athlete to get off the leg, normally in a walking support or splint. You can find mixed thoughts and opinions on the specified approach to an Achilles tendon tear. One option is operative, and the alternative choice is to using a walking splint. The studies looking at the 2 choices is really obvious in demonstrating that there's no distinction between the 2 in regards to the long term results, so you can be comfortable in understanding that whatever treatment methods are used, then the long terms consequences are exactly the same. In the short term, the operative approach will get the athlete returning to sport quicker, but as always, any surgery does have a little anaesthetic risk as well as surgical wound infection risk. That risk must be compared to the necessity to go back to the activity faster.

What's probably more important in comparison to the selection of the operative or non-surgical therapy is the actual rehab just after. The research is very obvious that the sooner standing and walking and movement is carried out, the greater the outcome. This needs to be carried out gradually and slowly but surely permitting the Achilles tendon as well as the muscle to build up strength prior to the return to sport.