Achilles tendon rupture treatment can vary depending on the severity of the rupture, but most people will require surgery. The surgery is usually performed arthroscopically, which means that small incisions are made in the skin through which a camera and instruments are inserted. The following are some of the steps involved in treating an Achilles tendon rupture:
- Removing any loose fragments of tissue or blood that may be present in the wound
- Stitching together torn ends of the tendon
- Inserting a graft to strengthen the tendon in case it needs to bear weight again
What Is Achilles Rupture?
Achilles rupture is a tear of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. The most common cause of an Achilles tendon rupture is a sudden impact or pulling of the leg against resistance (such as during an athletic activity).
Achilles ruptures are more common in older adults because tendons are less flexible and more prone to injury as we age. The Achilles tendon can also rupture if it’s stretched too far (an example would be when you jump off a step and land on your toes). Symptoms include:
- Pain in the back of the ankle and calf area
- Swelling at the back of your ankle and calf area
- Inability to walk without limping
Types of Treatment for Achilles Rupture
Achilles rupture is a severe injury that requires immediate medical attention. The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the human body and connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. It helps you walk, run and play sports like basketball and tennis. There are three types of treatment options for Achilles ruptures:
- Nonoperative Treatment: Nonoperative treatment involves resting, icing, and compression to help with swelling. You will also be given crutches to use while you’re healing.
- Operative Treatment: This is surgery that is done to repair the rupture. The doctor will make an incision in your leg so they can fix the tear in the tendon.
- Conservative Treatment: Conservative treatment means using nonoperative methods to treat your injury, such as rest, physical therapy, and bracing.
How Safe Is Achilles Rupture Treatment?
Achilles tendon rupture treatment involves surgical repair of the torn tendon ends and rehabilitation. Surgery is typically successful in restoring the Achilles tendon’s normal function and preventing rupture recurrence.
Achilles tendon ruptures are treated with surgery to repair torn ends of the ruptured tendon and restore normal function within six months after injury when possible. The risk of permanent disability due to acute rupture of the Achilles tendon is less than 10 percent if surgery is performed within eight weeks after injury. However, patients who delay surgery beyond eight weeks have a higher risk of permanent disability due to chronic partial rupture or complete.
How Effective Is Achilles Rupture Treatment?
Treatment for Achilles tendon ruptures depends on how serious it is. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to reattach torn tissue. In other cases, nonsurgical treatments may be more effective.
The effectiveness of treatment depends on the type of tear and how far it extends into the tendon. For example:
If only one of the two tendons that make up the Achilles tendon has ruptured, nonsurgical treatment may work well enough to get back to normal activities without surgery.
If both tendons have ruptured or if one has partially torn away from its attachment site on the heel bone (instead of pulling entirely through), surgery may be needed to repair or replace the damaged tissue with a graft taken from another part of your body (autograft).
One of the most common causes of Achilles rupture is the rupture or degeneration of the tendon. The tendon can become overused and can fail about an increase in stress placed on it. Preexisting conditions such as diabetes, weak or flat arches, or wearing shoes with an inappropriate heel-toe drop can increase your risk of developing Achilles tendinitis.
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