Walking and running are activities that are often taken for granted. We get out of bed, shower, get the kids ready for school, and get to work, not giving a second thought to the fact that we can get so much done before the day even begins.
But if you injure your Achilles heel, even something as simple as taking a few steps can be painful.
What Is the Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles tendon (also known as the calcaneal tendon) is the tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It’s also the largest tendon in the human body, and it allows us to walk, run and jump.
Most Achilles tendon injuries occur while a person is playing sports, although this type of injury could happen to anyone.
Achilles Tendon Tears and Ruptures
When overstretched, the Achilles tendon can either rupture partially, or become completely severed. Tears are more likely to occur when a person suddenly increases the intensity of physical activity, forcefully jumps, or falls from height.
They are also often the result of Achilles tendinitis, which is when the tendon becomes inflamed due to overuse. If not treated properly, it could result in an Achilles tear or rupture.
Additionally, the Achilles tendon can become weak with age or from lack of use, leaving it more prone to injury.
What Are the Symptoms of a Torn Achilles Tendon?
It’s impossible not to notice if you have a torn Achilles tendon. This is because, when torn, the person usually hears a popping sound, followed by an immediate shooting pain in their calf. In addition, the patient will experience the following symptoms:
- The calf feels tender
- Inability to stand on toes
Can You Walk on a Partially Torn Achilles Tendon?
A person who is suffering from a partially torn Achilles tendon will have difficulty walking, since that tendon is necessary for the foot to efficiently push off the ground. The pain will increase if going uphill or up a flight of stairs.
Depending on the level of a person’s fitness and daily activity, it might be possible for the patient to eventually walk normally on a partially torn Achilles tendon. However, the person still needs to take the time to treat and heal the injury before they attempt to walk again.
What Are the Risk Factors for an Achilles Tendon Tear or Rupture?
Some of the most common factors for this type of injury include the following:
- Playing recreational sports
- Failing to follow a reasonable training plan (e.g. suddenly increasing intensity)
- Gender (the injury occurs more often among men)
Treatment for Achilles Tendon Tears and Ruptures
There are different types of treatment for an Achilles tendon tear or rupture. The best treatment depends on several factors, such as the severity of the injury, the likelihood of re-rupture, and the person’s lifestyle.
Some of the possible treatments include:
- RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Low impact exercises
- Physical Therapy
Undergoing surgery is always a last resort and should only be chosen over more conservative methods if:
- Other forms of treatment have not worked.
- The symptoms are getting worse instead of improving over time.
- The patient leads a particularly active lifestyle.
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At the Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you’ve suffered from an Achilles tendon tear or rupture, let us help you get back to doing the things you love.
Contact us to schedule an appointment.