Achilles tendon ruptures occur pretty commonly with athletic activity, especially in the middle years of our lives. We see people rupture Achilles tendons doing activities such as racquetball, tennis, baseball or softball, basketball, and other activities that cause you to go from a resting state to a sprinting state very quickly.
The Achilles tendon most commonly ruptures in what we call the watershed region, which is essentially the area of least vascular supply to the tendon. The Achilles tendon primarily gets its blood flow from the musculature more proximal to the tendon from the gastrocnemius muscle and soleus muscle and then from the calcaneus at its distal insertion. In the central portion of the tendon, the blood flow is not as good, and we think this is why the tendon tends to degenerate in this area and ultimately causes rupturing of the Achilles through this area.
Most people, when they ruptured Achilles tendon, describe an injury that really did not hurt very much, but they either hear a loud pop where they feel like someone kicked them in the back of the leg. When you suffer an Achilles tendon rupture, you pretty much cannot walk correctly right away and are not able to toe off and your foot has a tendency to slap the ground more.
Conservative therapy for Achilles tendon ruptures include casting and typically putting the toes in a plantarflexed position to try to allow the two edges of the tendon to heal back together. This is an option, especially in patients that are not wishing to return to athletic activity, but the main problem with this is your risk of rerupture is higher. The other problem is that the tendon heals in a lengthened position, so it is never is as strong as it once was.
Generally speaking, if you rupture your Achilles tendon and wish to return to athletic activity, we do recommend surgical repair of the tendon to try to give you the best chance to return to athletic activity with as little restriction as possible. There are several new suture techniques that allow us to the repair the tendon in a stronger method than previously available, which leads to return to function more quickly with a stronger tendon.
If you suffer an Achilles tendon rupture or have any other foot and ankle trauma or pain, call Dr. Hinderland and Dr. Cameron at 719-488-4664, so we can help you today!