Achilles tendon rupture: Mechanism of injury and treatment options

An Achilles tendon rupture is a traumatic tear of the Achilles tendon. This is the tendon that connects the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calf to the heel bone. The injury often results from a noncontact mechanism rather than a direct blow to the ankle. Examples include abruptly changing directions or immediately sprinting from a standing position.

As I discuss in this video, both surgery to repair the torn tendon and nonsurgical treatment with a cast or boot are acceptable options for most patients. Achilles tendon ruptures are most frequently repaired surgically in high-level athletes, although some studies show fairly equal healing rates between surgery and nonsurgical treatment.

Surgical image of an Achilles tendon rupture

Full recovery and return to sports and exercise can take many months, whether or not the injury is treated with surgery. The patient often wears a cast or boot in the early phases of healing, and then he or she must regain motion of the ankle and strength of the leg.

Also read:
Common injuries of the Achilles tendon that affect active people
5 injuries and conditions for which PRP can be used

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