The warmer weather is here and you finally got yourself motivated to get off the couch and get in shape. Enthusiastically you start your workout. Not too bad…so you decide to push yourself a bit. As you break into a sprint for the final leg of your run you feel it—a snap in the back of your leg just above the ankle. There’s a sharp pain like someone kicked you in the calf. You hobble home and the back of your leg starts to swell up. Chances are you’ve ruptured your Achilles tendon, an injury we treat often at Paul Klein, DPM FACFAS.
What Just Happened?
Your Achilles tendon is a tough band of tissue that runs down the back of your leg connecting your calf muscle to your heel bone. It’s one of the strongest in your body but also one of the most commonly injured. When the tendon gets overstretched—usually due to a sudden force being exerted on it through jumping, sprinting or twisting—it can be partially or completely torn. It’s an injury that frequently afflicts “weekend warriors,” those people who have been sedentary for a long period of time and try to do too much too soon when exercising. Achilles tendon injuries can also be caused by a fall and, less commonly, when an illness or certain medications weaken the tendon.
Repairing Ruptured Tendons
Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, will examine your foot and ankle and ask questions about just how the injury occurred. By feeling the back of the ankle and testing range of motion and muscle strength the foot doctor will likely be able to tell if you have ruptured the tendon. In some cases an MRI or other imaging tests may be ordered.
Except for the most minor tears, surgery is usually the best option to repair the tendon and greatly decreases the risk of re-rupture. Following surgery, patients will usually have 6-8 weeks of physical therapy to rehabilitate and strengthen the area.