The Achilles Tendon is the strongest tendon in our body and is considered one of the main tendons of our foot and ankle. The Achilles tendon is the common tendon for two major muscles of our calf. The Achilles tendon is responsible for being able to flex our foot and ankle and thus plays a major role in walking, running and jumping. Especially while exercising sports there is major load on the Achilles tendon making it prone for injury and overload problems.
Achilles Tendon – Rupture
Due to overload during sports or another circumstance the Achilles tendon can either completely or only partially rupture. Complete ruptures normally happen only if there is major force acting on the tendon itself, for example an accident while running or direct hit on the tendon.
You will suddenly feel a sharp pain and sometimes even hear the tear happening as the Achilles Tendon is a very thick and strong tendon. If your Achilles tendon acutely ruptures you will suddenly have problems to walk because the support at the back of your heel is not there any more.
In this case medical help is necessary to evaluate how much of your tendon is ruptured. A manual examination and in most cases an sonography or an MRI will determine the exact extent of the damage and then lead to the decision that has to be taken.
In some cases a conservative treatment with the application of a plaster cast and / or a walking boot is possible if the ruptured ends of the tendon are not separated too much from each other. Very often though a surgical procedure will be advised because the tendon either already had a slight damage or the tendon ends are separated from each other so that they will not spontaneously heal. After a surgical procedure a cast or walker boot will help the tendon to heal. Later on physiotherapy will help you to regain your strength and capacity.
Different surgical procedures are possible in the case of a complete rupture of your Achilles Tendon. I will advise you on which procedure best fits your rupture type and requirements.
Achilles Tendinopathy – Tendonitis
Chronic overload can lead to inflammation and / or tiny little ruptures within the Achilles Tendon. The Achilles Tendon can either completely or partially rupture. A partial Achilles tendon rupture, also known as Tendonitis or Tendinosis, usually happens gradually. Complete rupture of the Achilles tendon is treated surgically by tendon suture, sometimes with tendon transfer. In some patients, tendonitis of the Achilles tendon can be successfully treated with conservative therapy and physiotherapy.
Achilles Tendon Inflammation
If the tissue around the Achilles tendon is disturbed by swelling, the area can become painful. This condition is called Paratendinitis and can be treated conservatively with different methods such as bracing, special bandages, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy.
Achilles Tendon Insertion
The Achilles tendon inserts into the calcaneus, or heel bone, and can become painful if tendon calcification forms, if partial rupture of the Achilles tendon occurs, or if there is a prominent calcaneus (Haglund disease). Achilles Tendon Insertion may be treated conservatively with rest, physical therapy, or shoe insertions, though, surgery may be required to remove the prominent calcaneus and the calcification and restabilize the Achilles tendon. Sometimes an additional tendon transfer is needed to reinforce the damaged Achilles tendon.