Achilles Tendon Rupture Signs, Symptoms and Treatment
Achilles tendon rupture commonly occur in healthy men between the ages of 30 and 50 years who have had no previous injury to the affected leg. Those who suffer this injury are typically “weekend warriors” who are active intermittently. Most Achilles tendon tears occur in the mid-substance of the tendoachilles, approximately 2-6 cm above the calcaneal insertion of the tendon also knows as the “watershed zone”.
The most common mechanisms of injury include sudden forced plantar flexion of the foot, unexpected dorsiflexion of the foot, and violent dorsiflexion of a plantar flexed foot. Other mechanisms include direct trauma and, less frequently, attrition of the tendon as a result of longstanding peritendinitis with or without tendinosis.
What Are Symptoms of Achilles Tendon Rupture?
- Traumatic injury that causes sudden pain behind the ankle.
- Patients may hear a ‘pop’ or a ‘snap,’ and will almost always say they feel as though they have been kicked in the heel (even though no one has kicked them).
- Patients have difficulty pointing their toes downward, and may have swelling and bruising around the tendon.
- Lack of continuity of the tendon.
- A defect in the Achilles tendon can often be felt after a tear.
- Squeezing the calf muscle should cause the foot to point downwards, but in patients with a torn Achilles tendon, the foot will not move (this will cause positive results on the Thompson test).
- On X-ray, disruption of Kager’s Triangle may be noted
Other risk factors that are associated with Achilles tendon rupture include
- Cortisone injections into the Achilles tendon
- Fluoroquinolone antibiotic use (i.e. Cipro, Levaquin)
Treatment of Achilles Tendon Rupture
Treatment of an Achilles tendon tear can consist of either surgery or non-surgical techniques.