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Achilles Tendon Rupture: Everything you Need to Know

Achilles Tendon Rupture: Everything you Need to Know


The achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord at the back of the ankle that connect the calf muscles to the heel bone. An achilles tendon rupture typically happens during recreational sport involving, running or jumping. A sudden, forceful movement of the foot downward against resistance, such as when an individual pushes off the foot with great force to jump is most commonly the mechanism of injury.

Symptoms of Achilles Tendon Rupture

Most people experience one or a variety of the following with an achilles tendon rupture:

  • A popping or snapping sound at the time of injury.
  • The feeling of having been kicked or hit on the back of the lower leg.
  • Acute sharp pain, possibly severe and swelling around the achilles tendon.
  • The inability to push off the injured foot while walking.
  • The inability to raise up onto your toes while standing on the injured leg.

Treatment of Achilles Tendon Rupture

Surgery is recommended for young, healthy and active individuals. For older, less active and individuals that have a higher risk for surgery and anaesthetic, a conservative non-surgical method may be recommended.

The achilles tendon rupture can be surgically repaired in two different ways, percutaneous or an open technique. The latter involves and incision to allow for better visualisation and approximation of the tendon. With the percutaneous technique the surgeon will make a smaller incision to repair the tendon. Both procedures have their own risks and benefits, the choice of surgery is individualised to each patient.

Following surgery a short leg cast or boot will be placed on the operated ankle. This is typically worn for 4-6 weeks post-operatively. Physiotherapy is a very important part of the post-operative recovery. Your physiotherapist will provide you with an individualised rehabilitation programme targeting range of movement, strength, functional activities, balance and return to sport if that is your aim. This rehabilitation process may be several months of hard work to achieve your goals.

If you have experienced an achilles injury or rupture and are looking to get back to your sport, our physiotherapists at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic will be able to advise you on the best course of rehabilitation. If you would like to book an appointment or have any questions, contact us here.

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