Wound Care

Achilles Tendon Injuries Causes, Symptoms, and treatment in Plano, Dallas, Prosper & Allen, TX

Achilles Tendon Injuries Causes, Symptoms, and treatment in Plano, Dallas, Prosper & Allen, TX

Posted On: May 6, 2020

The achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord that connects the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone. It allows you to move your foot downwards and upwards.

Pain in the achilles tendon can be caused by overuse or tightness of the tendon and can lead to a painful thickening of the tendon known as achilles tendinitis or tendinosis.

If you overstretch your Achilles tendon, or you were involved in an accident that ruptured or cut the Achilles tendon, it could get damaged completely or partially.

Achilles tendon injury mainly occurs in people that are involved in sporting activities and athletes.

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An achilles tendon rupture usually occurs in the part where the tendon is closer to the heel bone. This part is about 6 centimeters from the heel bone. Rupture or injury normally occurs at this part because there is limited blood flow in that part of the tendon.

Causes

Achilles tendon  ruptures or injuries are often caused by a sudden increase in the stress exerted on the Achilles tendon or injuries from accidents. It is more common in men than in women.

  • Involving in high-impact sports such as jumping, football, basketball and running can cause your Achilles tendon to rupture.
  • Falling from a height or stepping into a deep hole can cause your Achilles’ tendon to rupture.
  • Accidents or cuts to your Achilles’ tendon can cause damage to it.
  • If you are between the age of 30 to 40, or above, you’re at higher risk of Achilles tendon rupture.
  • Injecting steroids into the ankle joint can weaken nearby tendons, leading to easy rupture of the Achilles tendon rupture.
  • Fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin or levofloxacin, can increase the risk of Achilles tendon rupture.
  • Excess weight can put a lot of pressure on the Achilles’ tendon which can lead to rupture.

Symptoms

If patient is experiencing achilles tendon tendinitis/tendinosis they may have the following symptoms:

  • Pain and swelling close to your heel
  • Inability to put weight on the affected leg
  • Thickening of the tendon
  • Tightness of the achilles tendon

Partial or complete rupture can include the follow symptoms:

  • Hearing a popping or snapping sound when the injury occurs or when the tendon ruptures.
  • Feeling a “gap” in the tendon in the back of the leg

Diagnosis

During diagnosis, your doctor will conduct a physical exam to inspect your lower leg for tenderness and swelling. A series of physical tests will be performed to determine the extent of injury.

Your doctor may also order that you undergo imaging scans such as MRI scan, X-ray, or ultrasound to be able to see the internal structure of your leg and evaluate the quality of your Achilles’ tendon.

Treatments

Treatment for Achilles tendon rupture often depends on your age, severity of the condition, and activity level.

Younger people may require surgery to repair a completely ruptured Achilles tendon while older people may require nonsurgical management and treatment.

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Treatment for partial tears and minor ankle injuries includes home remedies such as:

  • Rest. You should always take some rest and avoid activities that cause pain, swelling or discomfort. Also, limit the amount of walking and weight-bearing on the injured ankle. 
  • Ice. Apply an ice pack on the pain area for 15 to 20 minutes and repeat it every two to three hours while you’re awake. It is not advisable to apply ice packs directly to the skin.  Wrap the ice pack in a towel before placing it on the ankle. Talk with your doctor first before applying ice if you have vascular disease, diabetes or decreased sensation.
  • Compression. Compress the ankle with an elastic bandage until the swelling stops. Be careful when compressing the ankle so as not to compress too tightly as this can hinder circulation.
  • Elevation. Elevate your ankle above the level of your heart, especially at night to reduce swelling. Gravity helps reduce swelling by draining excess fluid. 

Medications

In most cases, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve, others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) are enough to relieve the pain. 

Limiting movements and high-impact activities 

Avoid high-impact activities and limit your movement to help improve your condition.

Physical therapy 

Engaging in physical therapies and exercises such as stretching, and muscle strengthening exercises can help improve your condition.

Nonsurgical and home remedies treatments are commonly used for partial rupture of the Achilles tendon. If your tendon is completely ruptured, you most likely require a surgical procedure to get it amended.

Surgery

achilles Surgical procedure to amend a completely ruptured Achilles tendon generally involves making an incision in the back of your lower leg and then stitching the torn tendon together. The torn tendon may also be reinforced with other tendons if the condition of the torn tendon is severe.

Achilles tendinitis/tendinosis can be treated with surgery to remove the thickened fibrous tissue from the healthy achilles tendon. 

After the surgery, you may need to engage in physical therapy exercises to strengthen your Achilles’ tendon and leg muscles.

How long does it take for a strained Achilles tendon to heal?

It could take as short as 2-3 weeks or as long as 6 weeks to heal. You will likely return to normalcy within four to six months.

What is the best treatment for Achilles tendonitis?

There are different ways to manage and treat achilles tendinitis. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the condition. You can treat mild conditions with home remedies but severe conditions will likely require surgery.

Is walking good for Achilles tendonitis?

Walking short distances can help in the treatment of your Achilles tendonitis. Walking short distances can help strengthen your calf muscles, increase flexibility, and reduce pain.

What happens if Achilles tendonitis goes untreated?

If left untreated, the condition of Achilles tendinitis usually gets worse. You will likely begin to feel chronic pain and the tendon may get ruptured. The condition could become very serious and could lead to serious injury.

How do you massage your Achilles tendon?

Gently rub the inflamed or ruptured tendon back and forth at the point where you feel increased tenderness. The directions of your massage should be perpendicular to the fibers of the tendon. Apply gentle pressure with your fingers and thumb when massaging.

When should I go to the doctor for Achilles pain?

You should go see a doctor for treatment if you feel serious pain in the back of your leg between your calf and heel. You should see a doctor if your ankle or leg becomes stiff or sore. Also, see a doctor if your heel, ankle, or leg gets inflamed.