Achilles tendon rupture is when the achilles tendon breaks. The achilles is the most commonly injured tendon. Rupture can occur while performing actions requiring explosive acceleration, such as
pushing off or jumping. The male to female ratio for Achilles tendon rupture varies between 7:1 and 4:1 across various studies.
There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of an Achilles tendon rupture, which include the following. You?re most likely to rupture your Achilles tendon during sports that involve
bursts of jumping, pivoting and running, such as football or tennis. Your Achilles tendon becomes less flexible and less able to absorb repeated stresses, for example of running, as you get older.
Small tears can develop in the fibres of the tendon and it may eventually completely tear. There is a very small risk of an Achilles tendon rupture if you have Achilles tendinopathy (also called
Achilles tendinitis). This is where your tendon breaks down, which causes pain and stiffness in your Achilles tendon, both when you exercise and afterwards. If you take quinolone antibiotics and
corticosteroid medicines, it can increase your risk of an Achilles tendon injury, particularly if you take them together. The exact reasons for this aren't fully understood at present.
Symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture include sensation that someone or something has hit the back of the calf muscle, sudden pain, pain when walking, weakness in the leg, which is particularly
noticeable when trying to push off while walking and there is not sufficient strength to do so.
Diagnosis is made mostly by clinical examination with a defect usually noted on visual examination and by touching the area. A simple test can be done by squeezing the back of the calf with the foot
resting in the air. Normally when squeezing the muscle belly the tendon will shorten causing the foot to move in a downward position. With a rupture this squeezing effect may show no movement of the
foot if it is not attached properly. A negative test does not mean there isn't some degree of rupture as some of the tendon fibers may still be attached. Sometimes x-rays, an mri, or an ultrasound
can be helpful in determining the extent of the rupture.
Non Surgical Treatment
To give the best prospects for recovery it is important to treat an Achilles' tendon rupture as soon as possible. If a complete rupture is treated early the gap between the two ends of the tendon
will be minimised. This can avoid the need for an operation or tendon graft. There are two forms of treatment available for an Achilles' tendon rupture; conservative treatment and surgery.
Conservative treatment will involve the affected leg being placed in a cast and series of braces with the foot pointing down to allow the two ends of the tendon to knit together naturally.
In general, Achilles tendon repair surgery has a much higher success rate and lower incidences of re-rupture than non-surgical methods of treatment. It is preferred by the nation?s leading athletes
as the best course of action, allowing them to return to previous activity and performance levels at a much faster rate, with a lower chance or re-injury and less potential muscle loss.