An Achilles tendon rupture can happen to anyone. While such tears are most common among athletes and sports enthusiasts, they can happen to anyone whose Achilles tendon—the strong, fibrous cord connecting your calf muscles to the back of the heel—is so far overstretched that it snaps.
What Causes a Rupture?
Maybe you’re an active athlete, a gymnast, or a long-distance runner who decided to take on an aggressive new training regimen. Maybe you love the outdoors but hit an unexpected ditch on a weekend hike. Or—maybe—you were running a regular workday errand.
A lot of different things can cause or contribute to a rupture, but your Achilles tendon is at its highest risk of tearing when you’re exercising vigorously and moving quickly.
What Does a Rupture Feel Like?
If you tear your Achilles tendon, you’ll probably feel a sharp pain behind your ankle. You might have even heard a pop or a snap when you sustained the initial injury. While there’s a small chance you might not feel any significant discomfort, you’ll most likely be in quite a bit of pain and unable to stand on your tip-toes or keep your foot on the ground while flexing your calves.
What Are My Treatment Options?
You might be sure of your symptoms, but the first step in treatment is getting the right diagnosis—that’s why it’s important to visit an experienced podiatrist.
Once a professional can confirm that your Achilles tendon is ruptured, your treatment will depend on the severity of the tear:
- Minor ruptures can almost always be treated with some rest and anti-inflammatory medicines. Your podiatrist might also immobilize your foot and help you create a rehabilitation regimen to ensure you’re back to normal as quickly as you can be.
- If you’ve suffered a severe rupture, you might need surgery. If you’re experiencing more than a tolerable amount of pain, call a podiatrist immediately.
Whether your injury seems insignificant or insufferable, you shouldn’t try to self-medicate or “wait out” the pain. Your Achilles tendon, after all, is a critical piece of anatomy.
Trying to get back to daily life too quickly—let alone a football field or soccer pitch—can aggravate your injury and make a full recovery impossible. If you think you might have a torn tendon or suffered a full-blown rupture, schedule an appointment with an experienced podiatrist as quickly as you can.